News that Momofuku Seiobo head chef Ben Greeno is leaving David Chang’s cult three-star Sydney restaurant to join Justin Hemmes’ dining and drinking behemoth, the Merivale Group, is the foodie equivalent of Buddy Franklin leaving Hawthorn for the Swans.
English-born Greeno, whose CV includes the world’s best restaurant, Noma in Copenhagen, is a superstar of Sydney food. He took the first international outpost of American David Chang’s Momofuku to the top of the critical accolades from the moment it opened in 2011. The 40-seat restaurant at The Star only offers a $185 multi-course tasting menu. Greeno will leave in April and Chang’s New York HQ will dispatch a new chef from the mothership to replace him.
Merivale already runs some of Sydney’s best and most popular restaurants, including est. and Mr Wong’s. Justin Hemmes has turned his father John’s fashion retailing business into a citywide entertainment empire, which includes the massive George Street bar complexes Establishment and ivy, as well as several hotels, from the Slip Inn to Coogee Pavilion, Tank Stream Bar, the Beresford, Royal George and Hotel CBD.
Greeno’s initial job is to oversee the relaunch of dining at the Paddington Arms, which Hemmes acquired 12 months ago. It’s due to open in July, along with a nearby Oxford Street project. Greeno, will then work on his own project with a yet-to-be-determined focus.
Greeno is the second key chef to leave the casino after sous chef Clayton Wells left last year. He plans to open a restaurant in Chippendale in July.
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