AS SPECULATION MOUNTS THAT MAURICE TERZINI IS CLOSE TO A DEAL TO open an affordable eastern beaches spinoff of Icebergs Dining Room, the seasoned restaurateur has added serious weight to his executive kitchen team.
Terzini has signed Orazio D'Elia, the Naples-born chef who helped Rushcutters Bay's Popolo land some stellar early reviews. Terzini refused to comment about talk of a new restaurant ''until something is finalised'', but previously toyed with a location in East Sydney before being linked to the site near Icebergs at Bondi.
The addition of D'Elia, who will work alongside Icebergs' chef Ben Horne, bulks up the group's talent pool to draw on for any future expansion.
''I loved what Orazio did at Popolo,'' Terzini says.
''There's a new breed of Michelin-trained Italian chefs coming through showing the way for modern Italian food.''
The veteran restaurateur has made several strategic changes to his kitchen line-up since splitting his restaurant empire with former business partner Rob Marchetti.
''[Caterer] John Wilson isn't involved any more,'' he says. ''Once we were no longer involved with Neild Avenue, I didn't really see the need for a creative director.''