When the famed Adelaide restaurant Neddy's closed down after almost 13 years, chef Cheong Liew wrote a valedictory menu, subtitling it 'The dance is over'. Among its dishes was a salad of crocodile tail and aubergine. It was 1988, and few people in the hospitality business expected to see Cheong return. Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1949, he was the son of a chicken farmer. After the anti-Chinese riots in 1969, his family fled Malaysia to go to Australia. A failed electronic engineering student, he began working as a cook. Soon, cooking became his passion. For Cheong in Adelaide in the 1970s, drawing up a menu was determined by what he could buy fresh at the market. Inevitably, compromises with ingredients had to be made and he was soon blending European techniques and Asian ingredients. By the time he established Neddy's, he had won respect for his strange new fusion food. Executives at the Adelaide Hilton eventually enticed him to work for them to relaunch their premium restaurant The Grange in the mid-1990s under the slogan 'Let the dance begin'. Cheong created a signature dish for the restaurant's rebirth. Called Four Dances of the Sea, it had the key elements of the nation's fusion cooking style. There was snook (a kind of pike), dedicated to a Japanese friend. The octopus was a reminder of the Greek restaurant where he discovered the joys of cooking. And the prawns were a salute to his childhood in Malaysia.