Quay chef Peter Gilmore to take over Opera House restaurant

Peter Gilmore to tackle the Bennelong site.
Peter Gilmore to tackle the Bennelong site. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams

Celebrated chef Peter Gilmore will take over the Bennelong restaurant site at the Sydney Opera House under an agreement that will span a decade.

In conjunction with The Fink Group, owners of Quay and Otto Ristorante, the chef will execute an offering pitched at different price points, spanning fine dining and a more casual eatery. It is expected to be open by June.

"Bennelong is such an incredibly special site that I couldn't pass up the opportunity," Gilmore said in a statement.

"I will be celebrating Australian produce from the very tip of Queensland right down to Tasmania and where better than in Australia's most iconic building." 

The three-hatted chef will open a 'signature Peter Gilmore dining experience' on the main lower level of the complex. The middle section will be pitched as quick eats with a focus on oysters, fish and pickled vegetables.  And a more casual restaurant/bar will reside on the top level aimed at pre-and post-show dining.

Bennelong will be open every night of the week, plus brunch on Sunday. A lunch service will run from Friday to Sunday.

A multi-million dollar refurbishment of the restaurant site will begin in January.

Gilmore will stay on as the executive chef at Quay in addition to the new project. His senior sous chef at that restaurant, Robert Cockerill, will become head chef at Bennelong.

The path to Friday's announcement has been a rocky one for the Opera House Trust. The incumbant operator, chef Guillaume Brahimi, declined to participate in the tender, citing conflicting visions between himself and the Trust.  After nearly 12 years at the site, the three hat restaurant departed at the end of 2013, re-opening in Paddington.

The first iteration of the tender named Melbourne's the Van Haandel Group as the winning bid. Its agreement with the Trust fell through in March.

Gilmore and The Fink Group's winning tender was flagged by Good Food on Tuesday.