Sunda. Aru. Parcs. And introducing: Antara 128 – a spectacular all-day brasserie replete with its own bakery.

Trendsetting, benchmarking restaurants each in their own right, and all the work of The Windsor Group. Between debuting Antara and re-opening the much-loved waste-fighting restaurant Parcs, it’s fair to say they’ve had their hands full over the past couple of weeks. A good thing, then, that they’ve just appointed a world-class executive chef to oversee the deliciousness.

Damien Neylon, “Nails” by preference, is no Johnny-come-lately. He arrives at The Windsor Group packing nearly 10 years’ experience at Victorian regional landmark Brae, where he sharpened his skillset under Dan Hunter before taking the reins as the restaurant’s head chef.

His appointment represents a boon for the entire Windsor Group, but it’s also big news for Parcs, where he has assumed the role of head chef ahead of its reboot this week; here’s what you can expect at Parcs in the Neylon era.

You might remember me from such establishments as Brae in Birregurra, where I spent almost a decade working with friends and mentors Dan Hunter and Jules Bagnato. They were instrumental in informing me as a cook and also a person.

I’ve been cooking for 16 years. I started as a kitchenhand in a café in western Victoria – a 16-year-old apprentice looking to buy a Jamie Oliver cookbook on eBay. I stumbled upon the El Bulli cookbook, which was I think two weeks’ salary at the time. I bought it and was hooked. Before long I bought a water circulator off a used science equipment website and then started working in higher-end restaurants here and abroad. Fast forward to now and this new take on Parcs reflects all the learning and experience I’ve gathered.

My brief for my new gig is bringing an element of fun. Cleanliness. Simplicity. Investigating how a small restaurant can participate in a closed-circle economy.

About 50 to 70 per cent of the menu comes from upcycled produce from the group and beyond, served as a four-to five-course menu that will change with the micro-seasons: early, mid and late spring, early, mid and late summer and so on. The idea is to keep things fluid, tapping into ingredient availability and the small windows when produce is peaking.

I’m working with friends – producers, farmers, chefs, other restaurants, community gardens – to grow the circle of repurposing offcuts and produce. So you’ll see ingredients like imperfect strawberries on the menu, or broad bean leaves, flowers, pods and maybe some stems. I’d like to show the breadth of what can be achieved through repurposed ingredients, fermentation, and a respect for the seasons, and to spark conversations and get thoughts going over interesting food and drinks.

And I’m passionate about growing food and doing things with intention. Respecting produce in a thoughtful way. And food science, too (but I’m an absolute novice in regard to the latter).

Which means I like to cook vegetables in particular, but anything where I know who produced it or where it came from. I really enjoy seeing and learning about new products, techniques and traditions and creating a dialogue through that.

I’ve only lived in Melbourne for the last year, and the opening menu I feel is a good snapshot of everything I have seen, learnt and eaten, influenced by my previous work history. I like to cook in a creative way, which is fortunate as the only in-built piece of cooking equipment at Parcs is a wok. Putting together a tiny, functional kitchen to make detailed food has been a lot of fun, albeit a touch unorthodox.

And if there’s one thing I don’t want you to leave without trying it’s… hard to say. The menu will change regularly with the seasons, so some dishes will be fleeting one-offs. It’ll be drop by à la carte from four to six, followed by the daily set menu from 6pm, the latter being more of an immersive experience. If I had to pick a dish from the late-spring menu – which is our opening menu – however, it’s probably the broad bean dish. I’ve turned the leaves into a tea in the style of pu’er (fermented, crushed, dried in a cake with the grilled and smoked pods) and it’s served with a rooster broth made with house-made Shaoxing wine. Following that, anything grown in our organic vegetable garden, or a simple plate of our favorite pickles at the moment are things not to miss out on.

Parcs, 198 Little Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 9972 7015, open from 4pm till late Tue-Sat,