Skip to main content

The National Portrait Gallery is temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Gilbert Lau

c. 1998 (printed 2005)
Kate Gollings

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 60.7 cm x 50.6 cm)

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'".

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2005
© Estate of Kate Gollings

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Kate Gollings (age 55 in 1998)

Gilbert Lau AM (age 55 in 1998)

Subject professions

Food and cooking

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency