Masterchef cooks up plans for foreshore

MasterChef celebrity cook George Calombaris has met the developers of the Aurora complex on the Kingston foreshore and expressed a desire to possibly open a restaurant or act as a consultant for them.

A spokeswoman for Calombaris confirmed yesterday he inspected the construction site during a visit to Canberra last month.

''He's definitely investigating it and taking discussions further,'' she said.

''The ball's in their court.''

Englobo Group chairman John Susa and chief executive officer Terry Shaw said they approached Calombaris and he agreed to visit the site of the Aurora complex on the Kingston Promenade during a visit to Canberra on October 19.

He looked at a prime corner site of the ground-floor commercial section of the building which has views across Lake Burley Griffin.

Mr Susa said the extent of Calombaris's involvement was still to be decided.

''It comes down to financial terms. George knows he's valuable,'' he said.

The spokeswoman for Calombaris said Canberra was the only site he had looked at to extend his restaurant portfolio which so far includes Melbourne and Mykonos, Greece.

He hosted a dinner for more than 500 people at the Hellenic Club in Canberra just last Sunday.

''We're definitely looking at other places and there is a great Greek community in Canberra as well,'' she said.

The $60million Aurora project between Eastlake Parade and the harbour boardwalk is due to be completed by mid next year.

Its ground-floor commercial space will include restaurants, cafes and bars.

The Englobo Group is starting a national campaign this weekend to attract high-end tenants.

The Land Development Agency is investing heavily in the public areas of the promenade, with $9million to be spent on landscaping, $3.5million on a recycled timber boardwalk, $1.2million on a pedestrian bridge over a canal to the residential island and $4million on the boat harbour including pontoons.

Mr Shaw said he wanted the public and private areas to blend at the promenade to create a lively entertainment and shopping precinct. He did not want the space to make the public feel like they were ''trespassing'' on private land.

''We're working together to create something all of Canberra can be proud of,'' he said.

''We don't want this to be an exclusive residential enclave that is only for the benefit of the people who live here.''

Englobo Group is also close to lodging a development application for a second development on the Kingston Foreshore, a $100million project of 140 units as well as commercial space, which has the working title Site 20.