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Why chef Kylie Kwong is an ambassador for Australian fruit, nuts and vegetables

Woman at podium speaking to a horticulture forum in Sydney
Chef Kylie Kwong says passionate producers are behind her successful flavours at Billy Kwong in Sydney. She spoke at a Horticulture Innovation Australia forum.

Supplied: Horticulture Innovation Australia

Famous Sydney chef Kylie Kwong has partnered with Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) to promote Australia's finest fruit, vegetables and nuts.

The renowned identity has produced TV cooking shows and written books while running the up-market restaurant Billy Kwong in Sydney.

Ms Kwong said she partnered with HIA because she wanted to promote and advocate for Australian-grown produce.

"As cooks we expect to be able to make any dish with any ingredients we like, that are available all year round but this can create a demand for imported fruit and vegetables, rather than making use of produce our land provides," she said.

"I'm personally very excited about the potential of working with many of our amazing growers through HIA to raise awareness of fresh produce, fruit, vegetables and nuts."

As an 'ambassador' for Australian horticulture, Ms Kwong said the secret to her fine food was the commitment of her suppliers.

"Carrots take on a whole new life when I know they're Rob Bauer's carrots from the Lockyer Valley, Queensland," she said.

"[They] are amazingly sweet, crunchy and wholesome carrots, which he has mindfully grown and harvested."

"Rob Bauer believes there is no point growing something unless you're passionate about it."

The Bauers' farm dates from 1885 but was certified organic in 1992.

Ms Kwong quoted Mr Bauer to reinforce why she worked with the producers she does.

"'Kylie,' he says, 'my philosophy is that if you do things you like doing, you do them better and and it all multiplies. We get a lot of compliments, Kylie, about the taste of our produce, and well your chest goes out a bit more each time.'"

Using Japanese fish killing techniques

One of Ms Kwong's fish suppliers for the past 20 years has been Mark Eather.

He catches nothing by net, only by line, and was recognised as a Queensland Delicious magazine winner in 2016.

"I genuinely feel that most fishermen want the best product they can, and at the end of the day, not only have they got the most outstanding product, they've loved mother nature, and she'll love us back," he said at the Delicious awards.

Ms Kwong said the benefits of Mr Eather's techniques were in the food he helped produce.

"He minimises stress in fish, to reduce adrenaline like substance in fish which gives its flesh a metallic taint," she said.

"He uses a Japanese technique to spike the brain, 'iki jime', dispatching the fish quickly.

"He has an incredibly loyal following of customers locally and internationally."