Sydney put its best foot forward for a group of international incentive travel buyers in late 2013, putting on a show that was anything but off the shelf.

Asian delegates participating in Business Events Australia’s Dreamtime program, which kicked off in Melbourne, came to Sydney for a taste of the harbour city. What they got was an inspired program, produced by event supremo David Grant.

My Secret Sydney was a full-day showcase of some of the lesser known attributes of Sydney for incentives. The day was focused around four key themes – Sydney’s lifestyle and fashion, Australia’s sporting culture, sustainable and Indigenous food, and the arts and cultural experiences.

The group started at Bondi Icebergs before moving to Royal Randwick, The Grounds at Alexandria and then onto the Sydney Dance Company at Walsh Bay.
At Bondi Icebergs, entertainer, musician and event director Ignatius Jones gave a presentation on Australia’s creative development and major events and festivals calendar, and fashion designers Ginger & Smart presented on Sydney’s fashion scene, their inspiration and the Sydney lifestyle.

At Royal Randwick the group were greeted by mounted horses before enjoying a tour of the ‘Theatre of the Horse’ and heading up to the exclusive Chairman’s Lounge where jockey Darren Beadman shared his Sydney story. Delegates also enjoyed a phantom horse race and were able to (fake) place bets on the horses, all named after Sydney’s villages.

At The Grounds at Alexandria, Kylie Kwong and Clarence Slockee joined forces to share with the group their passion for combining Indigenous, native and sustainable ingredients with Australian and Chinese food. The presentation included bush tucker tastings and a cooking demonstration from Kylie. The group then enjoyed the dish she prepared along with lunch from The Grounds, a hip café and restaurant that has its own sustainable garden, including a chook pen, in its rustic courtyard.

Kylie Kwong told international delegates the quality of Sydney and NSW’s food produce is second to none!
“It is an absolute dream being a chef and restaurateur in this place because all year round we have access to the freshest, highest-quality ingredients. As a Chinese cook, I have always had great accessibility to most of the fresh Asian vegetables and herbs that I desire for my menu,” she said.

“The super fresh seafood available and local organic farmer’s markets are also one of our greatest assets. Every Asian guest I have ever taken to the Sydney Fish Market is simply blown away by the quality, volume and diversity. All of us Asians are completely obsessed with seafood and to be able to access such clean, firm, fresh seafood so easily is something I never take for granted, having travelled through Asia extensively.

“I chose to showcase Australian native produce in my cooking demonstration because I wanted to give our Chinese visitors the taste of ‘truly authentic Australian-Chinese fare’. I am a third generation Australian, 29th generation Kwong, and I feel extremely fortunate that I have my foot in both cultures. I wanted to share with our visitors the story of how my Eastern and Western worlds live in harmony. I also wanted to talk to them about how I see my role as a cook and food spokesperson in this country. I feel it is important that we cooks serve Australian native produce to respect, support and uphold our very precious and sacred Indigenous Australian tradition – the world’s longest-living, continuous culture spanning more than 50-60,000 years – of which Clarence Slockee is a part. Through my food offerings I will always continue to celebrate Aboriginality.”

To complete the day delegates were treated to a tour of the Sydney Dance Company and a private dance rehearsal before being invited to join in for their own lesson.