Tony Bilson has confirmed he will be returning to the kitchen of the iconic Sydney restaurant Berowra Waters Inn with a reopening scheduled for October 12.
He's also planning the launch of a reincarnated Bilson's restaurant at the Hunter Valley's Hope Estate winery.
It's a nostalgic return to Berowra Waters for the chef who departed the restaurant thirty years ago after running it with his former wife Gay Bilson and helping to establish it as a leader of the dining scene at that time.
Berowra Waters Inn shut in June this year following the collapse of chef Dietmar Sawyere's restaurant group.
Bilson told Hospitality that when the closure happened he went up to Berowra Waters to have a look at the site - which is owned by one of his friends.
"Jeremy called me and I thought no to start off with," said Bilson, who himself has had his own financial issues - his Bilson's restaurant business collapsed at the end of last year with a million dollar debt.
"Then I went up and just fell in love with it again. I love this place and it's got such a place in my history and also in a lot of other people's history.
"I just didn't want to see it disappear and want to see it restored to its iconic status.
"Dietmar did a wonderful job and it's such a great pity."
Bilson said the menu at the new Berowra Waters Inn will be a degustation only. "It will include some Berowra classics but it will be very flexible depending on what's available," he said.
"The Muscovy ducks we use we just can't get a lot of so we'd only be able to use them one week in the month for example."
He said the restaurant is now taking bookings and that a website was expected to be up and running soon.
Bilson is also working with Hope Estate's Michael Hope to launch a Bilson's restaurant at the winery. The pair are also developing a garden on the site that will help supply produce to the restaurant there, as well as to Berowra Waters Inn, and also Danny's seafood restaurant at La Perouse which Bilson is doing some work with as a consulatant.
Hope is also beginning to farm Hebridean Dorper lambs on the estate that will eventually also be used on the restaurants' menus.