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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.

Tony Bilson, c. 2005

George Fetting

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 102.9 cm x 103.3 cm, image: 100.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Tony Bilson (b. 1944), chef, grew up in Melbourne and opened his first restaurant, La Pomme d'Or, in Camberwell in 1971. Moving to the Albion Hotel in Carlton, he served French-inspired cuisine to regulars who flowed over the road from Jimmy Watson's Wine Bar. With his then-partner Gay, he left Melbourne for Sydney. There, in 1973, the couple opened Tony's Bon Goût, the establishment, according to Mietta's guide, which began to flush the Labor Party out of clubs and pubs into 'trendy bistros'. After he established Berowra Waters Inn with Gay in the mid-1970s, Bilson and his financial partner Leon Fink set up Kinselas, a theatre, bar and restaurant in a former funeral parlour in Taylor Square. The restaurant was central to the reinvention of the area as a cultural precinct in the early 1980s; the Sydney Dance Company made one of its earliest appearances there. Bilson's, adjacent to the International Terminal at Circular Quay, set a new standard for luxurious Sydney dining. Bilson is now Chef Patron of Bilson's in the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. Regarded as an 'elder statesman' of Australian restaurateurs, he has written five books about food and his memoir will be published in October 2011. He is a sought-after speaker and contributor to newspapers, magazines and media events.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Tony Bilson 2008

Accession number: 2008.20

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

George Fetting (age 41 in 2005)

Tony Bilson

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.

Tony Bilson, c. 2005 George Fetting
Tony Bilson, c. 2005 George Fetting
Tony Bilson, c. 2005 George Fetting
Tony Bilson, c. 2005 George Fetting

Eating the seasons

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2019

Anne Sanders imbibes Tony Bilson’s gastronomic revolution.

Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds
Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds
Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds
Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds

Andrew Gaze

'Make it fun'

Portrait story

Basketballer Andrew Gaze and photographer George Fetting.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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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.