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Van Haandel Group chosen for Bennelong

November 9, 2013 Attraction No Comments Email Email

One of Australia’s most successful and experienced restaurateurs, Frank van Haandel, has been chosen by the Sydney Opera House Trust as the preferred tenderer for the Bennelong restaurant, following a public tender process.

Mr Van Haandel has more than 30 years’ experience centred in Melbourne and, more recently, at Stokehouse Q in Brisbane. “We are thrilled to have been selected for this iconic Sydney restaurant, which will be the focus of our attention over the coming years,” he said. “It is the perfect place for our particular style of dining, which is classic and exuberant, respectful and contemporary.”

Bennelong by Stokehouse also marks the return to Sydney of renowned chef and Stokehouse’s creative director and executive chef Anthony Musarra to oversee the new restaurant. “I am delighted to be coming home to take on the most exciting challenge of my life: a restaurant worthy of Australia’s greatest building”. Working closely with Mr van Haandel, Mr Musarra successfully renovated Stokehouse Restaurant St Kilda and then went on to launch Stokehouse Q, Stokehouse Café and most recently, Fatto Bar & Cantina.

Stokehouse Q’s 30-year-old rising star Richard Ousby, will be the head chef of Bennelong by Stokehouse. Mr Ousby joined Stokehouse Q in 2012, became head chef earlier this year and immediately earned Stokehouse Q its second chef’s hat.  He won the prestigious 2012 Acqua Panna & S. Pellegrino International Young Chef of the Year award and the 2011 Electrolux Australian Young Chef of the Year.  He was sous-chef to Peter Gilmore at Sydney’s Quay Restaurant and worked under Michel Roux at the famous Waterside Inn in Britain.

After a substantial refit starting in the New Year, Bennelong by Stokehouse will open its doors in May 2014.  The restaurant will capitalise on Bennelong’s two-tiered structure to deliver both a sophisticated dining area and more casual upper level. It will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and for breakfast on weekends.

“We are very pleased that Bennelong will be open to more people, in more ways, more of the time,” Sydney Opera House Trust ChairmanJohn Symond AM said. “Frank van Haandel and Anthony Musarra are among Australia’s most experienced restaurateurs and Richard Ousby is one of our most exciting young chefs. For us, the next decade is all about renewal of the Opera House and this is an important part of that renewal.”

“Like the Opera House, the Van Haandel Group has been a hothouse for emerging Australian talent,” Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said. “We have been thoroughly impressed by the rigour, professionalism and depth of experience of the Van Haandel team and their ability to spot and nurture young talent. For us, it is the perfect marriage of experience and creativity.”

Matt Moran, Owner of ARIA Restaurants added: “Frank is a class operator. I am looking forward to working with him and I am sure Bennelong by Stokehouse will be a great success.”

Sydney Opera House Trust Chairman John Symond AM also said: “I would like to pay tribute to Guillaume Brahimi and to thank him for his extraordinary contribution to the Opera House. Guillaume has worked tirelessly to establish Bennelong as a destination restaurant in Australia.”

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