Nice one, Sydney. The Harbour City has nabbed the top chef from New York's Langham Hotel and he is bringing his famous chicken tea served in a teapot with him.
Belgian chef David Vandenabeele (can we buy a vowel?) is headed to West Hotel, which opens on Sussex Street mid-December.
The venue gets its name from its location in the western corridor between the CBD and Darling Harbour.
Vandenabeele will steer Solander Dining, the hotel's 70-seater named after Swedish botanist Daniel Solander, who documented Australian plants and edibles alongside Joseph Banks.
New Yorkers flocked to the Langham for the "chicken tea", which Vandenabeele describes as his version of chicken consomme. The chef also plans to make cashew nut cheese using a technique he picked up from US celebrity chef Charlie Trotter.
"I'll use the cheese in a radish ravioli dish with yellow tomato salsa," he says. "I always try and use local produce. I've also found these great snails from the Hunter Valley which I'll serve with black garlic and witlof."
Vandenabeele says he is confident there's a place for the 180-room West Hotel in a crowded market. "I think the personality of staff is important; it's something that lacks a little bit in Sydney hotels."