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Gilbert Lau AM

b. 1943

Melbourne Cantonese restaurateur Gilbert Lau (b. 1943) is renowned as the consummate host of the Flower Drum - for remembering your last visit, who you were with and what you ate. He is also known for using Australian products but staying faithful to Cantonese cuisine. Born in Toi Shan, South China, Lau lived with his family in Hong Kong for nine years before migrating to Melbourne at 15 years of age. Lau started working in kitchens at 16, including some work in Canada and North America in the 1960s. He opened The Empress of China with Ken Louey in 1971. Lau opened the lauded Flower Drum in 1975. Lau has recently stepped back from the business, working 60 hours a week from 90 or more. His wife, Alice reports that Lau was so bored on holidays at Dunk Island, "he arranged an elaborate supper for about 60 of the staff on the island. He went and air-freighted goods from Sydney and Melbourne, and there he was sweating in a strange kitchen on his 'holiday'".

Updated 2018
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