Plate It Forward founder and CEO Shaun Christie-David is trying to make the world a better place through food. The social enterprise includes Kyiv Social in Chippendale, Kabul Social in the CBD and Colombo Social in Enmore, as well as the now-closed Coyoacan Social, which is making a comeback as a pop-up at Carriageworks for Vivid Sydney.

All Plate It Forward’s venues are for-purpose. They drive social change by employing and training refugees or through donating meals to people in Australia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Mexico.

From May 20, Christie-David, whose family migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka in the early 1980s, will share his deeply personal connection to his work in Australian Story on ABC iview. And in the spirit of giving back we decided to ask him where he likes to spend time in Sydney.

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Hey Shaun, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a migrant kid from the western suburbs, a reformed banker and a self-proclaimed mama’s boy. And I live by myself in St Peters.

What do you love most about Sydney?
The diversity, the cleanliness, the innovation, the people … There’s no other city where in 15 minutes you can be in the CBD, at one of the most iconic beaches in the world, or a thriving multicultural community.

Where do you like to eat in Sydney?
Ms. G’s. Dan Hong showed that we can push the boundaries on ethnic food – that it can be cool and fun while still true to the flavours that mean so much to us. I always go back for the cheeseburger spring rolls – that was a revolutionary dish. They’ll never be able to take it off the menu.

Where do you go for coffee?
Numero Uno Coffee Roasters in St Peters. My order’s a strong macchiato, one sugar. It’s a family-run business, and seeing someone else argue with their mum while working really resonates with me. (Hi, mum!)

Where do you go when you’re trying to impress someone?
Dinner at mum’s house. After being embarrassed by my identity and culture for so long, anyone that’s important to me gets to see the real me.

Where do you like to shop in Sydney?
Flemington and Pendle Hill. It’s where the Sri Lankan community moved to. The smells, the food and the shops bring a sense of connection and nostalgia to my motherland. I go to Spiceland all the time. I used to go there with mum and we’d get curry powders, really good rotis, rose water to make falooda. It’s like being in Sri Lanka.

What’s underrated in our city?
The western suburbs. The quality of the food, the rich stories, the diversity, all represented with authenticity … the strength of the people. It never ceases to amaze me. Canley Vale is incredible for Vietnamese food. I go to Nguyen Hot Bread for pork rolls often. It’s a family-run business and it’s been going for 35 years.

Who makes Sydney a better place?
Much love to the 24-hour economy commissioner, Michael Rodrigues, and the huge effort he’s put into making the city live up to what it should be. I love how he championed Pleasure Club in Newtown with Odd Culture Group’s James Thorpe. It’s hospo and politics coming together to change the landscape of the city. The 4am licence keeps me coming back. I’ve been a few too many times! I love what Matt Wiley has done with the cocktails and it’s good to see the city alive at night.

ABC’s Australian Story: Off Menu is a three-parter featuring Josh Niland, Shaun Christie-David and Kylie Kwong, who has just announced she is closing Lucky Kwong. It’s available to stream now on ABC iview. Shaun Christie-David’s episode airs from May 20.


My Sydney” is a regular column discovering the places and spaces that captivate and entice Sydney’s well-known residents.