Interview with Jill Dupleix and Terry Durack: Kings Cross Festival Food Curators

The inaugural Kings Cross Festival is a celebration of all that is colourful and creative about Sydney’s diverse and unique precinct.

Set to run over five days and four nights from November 21, the festival includes a program of art exhibitions, food and drink, music and one off events not to be missed.

We chat to Festival Food Curators Jill Dupleix and Terry Durack about their involvement in the program, the dining scene in Kings Cross, and finish with their top picks for the festival.

Terry Durack & Jill Dupleix

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Corinne: How did you become involved in the Kings Cross Festival?

Jill: We met up with Lorraine Lock at the launch of the El Alamein fountain earlier this year, and realised we were all saying the same things about our beautiful area.

C:  As residents of Potts Point, what makes this festival unique to the area?

Terry: What makes it unique is the incredible depth of talent that resides in the Kings Cross/Potts Point precinct – writers, potters, fashion designers, chefs, social workers, big thinkers, playwrights, journalists, artists, baristas, inspired retailers….

Jill: If we seceded from the rest of Sydney, not much would happen beyond our borders!

C: Can you tell us a little about “Walk the Fork” program.

Terry: It’s simply a map of some of our favourite places to eat and drink and get together around the area. Even we were surprised by how many there were. No wonder so few people have cars here, its so easy to walk everywhere and eat and drink as you go.

C: What can people expect from “Sweet Kings Cross”?

Jill: Much sweetness!

Kings Cross Festival

C: How does the food history connect with the cultural history of Kings Cross?

Jill: Food is culture, it weaves its way in and out and through everything else that goes on, and knits people together into a community.  Long before Kings Cross was the fashionable dining precinct it now is, it had a real life as the food-lover’s destination, with beautiful European delis and butchers, Sydney’s first cafes, and beautiful small bars.

Terry: The influx of Americans – and American money – during the late sixties and early seventies gave Kings Cross a real American accent, as all their favourite down-home foods and cocktails suddenly became available here. This was the place to be to try new things and to eat late, after the rest of Sydney had gone to bed.

C: What changes would you like to see as a result of the event?

It would be great if both residents and ‘foreigners’ to realise what a treasure we have in our small bars, cafes and their attendant streetside tables and local life – and what a positive effect they have on the social and cultural life of the area.

C: What are your top three food and drink picks for the festival?

Don’t miss happy hour of half-price of all food on the famous blackboard menu of Café Sopra from 2pm-3pm, and of all wines and cocktails from 3 to 5pm – perfect for a break from wandering around the Festival.

Personally, we’re looking forward to the old-school custard tart & glass of chardonnay offer from Bourke Street Bakery, AND the amazing Chocolate Mandarin & Honeycomb Sphere signature dessert at Grant King and Johanne Stanton’s Gastropark (two hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide). And we always love Saturday’s organic market in the Fitzroy Gardens so we can admire the El Alamein fountain.

With thanks to Jill Dupleix and Terry Durack for their time.

The Kings Cross Festival runs from Wednesday 21 November until Sunday 25th November 2012 with events taking place in and around the entire Kings Cross area and throughout various venues from leading pubs and clubs to the many cafés, restaurants and bars. For more information on how to get involved, check the website below.

Kings Cross Festival

* Images courtesy of Kings Cross Festival, used with permission


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.