IF you ask Australian chefs in Hong Kong about the food scene here, they get a bit nostalgic. The food of Melbourne and Sydney, they chorus, is light years ahead of the territory. If you mention Greg Doyle's name, the Australian chefs have even more to say. Even though most do not know the 40-year-old chef from Sydney personally, they know what he stands for. ''His food is not tricked up,'' says Melbourne-born Darren Wightman, executive chef of Food and Beverage Solutions, a Hong Kong-based consulting firm. ''It is served simply on the plate. It's fresh and exciting.'' David Laris, a chef from Sydney, now working at the Mezzaluna in Macau, associates Doyle with simplicity. ''He doesn't overdo things. He has made his mark in Sydney.'' If Doyle teaches anything during his promotion at the Mandarin, Katherine Anderson hopes he will show some risk-taking. ''Restaurateurs here interpret what they think the customers want,'' explains the executive chef of Portico, also from Melbourne. ''The food is less individual in style. The restaurant owners, it seems, not the chefs write the menus. People are scared to experiment. Maybe Greg can show them that you don't have to have the traditional [vegetables, potato, meat].'' Not that Doyle came here to be a standard-bearer. But, if anyone looks up to the task, he is an able candidate. He's an avid outdoorsman with a lean, bronzed look. One of the benefits of living on Sydney's north Palm Beach is running out the door to go surfing, explains the 40-year-old father of two. Tennis and golf are also favourite pursuits, when time allows. Though he's plagued by a sweet tooth, he keeps it under control ''by resisting''. One of his creations, a naughty chocolate-hazelnut nougat tart is served with a dollop of cream ''probably 53 per cent butter-fat''. So much for resisting. He earned a reputation for what he doesn't do to food. Freshness is a passion, so is simplicity. His style evolved from the riotous days of experimenting with nouvelle cuisine and surviving it. ''We all did it,'' he says, talking about the high prices, the precious portions of pretty food on plates the size of steering wheels. ''Diners aren't into three-hour dinners anymore.'' Trademarks of his style include appetisers like carpaccio of Atlantic salmon with cucumber noodles, and grilled squid salad with roasted sweet peppers in a curry vinaigrette, as well as entrees of steamed blue-eyed cod with pink-eye potatoes. Slabs of seared tuna are wrapped in a beguiling olive crust. By studying his menu diners will learn what's happening in food in Australia. ''Lots of fresh local ingredients,'' he said. ''Sauces without butter or cream, but ones made with good virgin olive oil and vinegars, fresh herbs and freshly ground spices. InAustralia, we're lucky because we have so much land, we're able to grow what we want and support small farmers. I have one farmer for tomatoes, another one for herbs. One for potatoes. We've got choices.'' He brought a tonne of fresh ingredients and, with daily shipments, will not run out. The trend towards lighter eating doesn't negate the kinds of desserts Doyle loves to make and eat. ''Chefs create the menus so a diner can have an appetiser, a first and main course and still feel comfortable,'' he said. ''But people usually go for dessert.'' And that translates as creme brulee, prune and Armangac ice cream with strawberries, and a banana mille-feuille with caramel ice cream. Chefs have survived during Australia's rough economic climate by being more creative and rethinking menus, not raising prices. ''Australia is still one of the world's great bargains for good, fresh fish,'' he said. ''Prices in Sydney haven't changed much in five years.'' Other than to present Hong Kong with his best work, Doyle hopes to clear a popular misconception: he is not related to the famous Doyle family, who ran Doyle's, a Mecca for seafood, for years. ''Only our name is the same,'' he said. ''The family sold Doyle's 14 years ago. The new owner changed the name to Dory's. When my partner and I bought it three years ago, we changed it to The Pier.''