In a career spanning more than 25 years, chef and restaurateur Hamish Ingham has established a reputation as one of the Sydney dining scene’s strongest advocates of fresh, local ingredients, indigenous foods and sustainability. His hospitality journey has taken him from an apprenticeship at Boronia House in 1990, to the award-winning Milson’s as sous chef, before landing a career-defining role on the start-up team of Billy Kwong, celebrity chef Kylie Kwong’s flagship Chinese restaurant. Through Kylie, Hamish gained the chance to work on cookbooks and as a food stylist for TV appearances, as well as developing relationships with local primary producers.
In 2004 Hamish was awarded the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year Award, joining the elite of Sydney chef talent. It gave him the opportunity to travel to New York City and work at top restaurants Gramercy Tavern, Amuse, Craft and Amy’s. Next on his itinerary was Alice Waters’ iconic San Francisco establishment, Chez Panisse, where he was inspired by a kitchen that created daily menus based on seasonality – knowledge that still influences Hamish’s cooking. Hamish brought his experiences and inspiration back to Billy Kwong and lead the team as head chef until 2009. Moving on to brief stints at Sean’s Panaroma and The Bellevue, as well as dabbling in the Sydney “Guerilla Dining” popup scene, he also broadened his skill set to encompass teaching, holding cooking classes at such prestigious venues as Simon Johnson and Accoutrement.
Together with his wife, sommelier Rebecca Lines, Hamish opened his own Surry Hills venue, Bar H, in 2010. It swiftly became a Sydney favourite for modern Asian cuisine, achieving one hat in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. Acclaim for his food led Hamish to develop a range of gourmet sauces and relishes for the home cook, achieving great sales success. Together with Rebecca, he also took on a one- year consultancy in 2013 with the Four Seasons Hotel, creating The Woods restaurant – a pioneer of wood-fired cooking and vehicle for indigenous Australian ingredients. Demand for public appearances also blossomed, with Hamish appearing on TV hit MasterChef Australia and demonstrating at Sydney Seafood School and MasterChef Live.
With Bar H still drawing a loyal following, Hamish and Rebecca took on a new challenge in late 2016, opening Banksii – a 200-seat vermouth bar and bistro, harbourside in the Barangaroo food precinct. As Banksii’s executive chef, Hamish has created a contemporary Australian menu, with a strong focus on botanicals and indigenous ingredients. Its unique offering has garnered rave reviews. A dedicated father of two, Hamish is an ambassador for the charity OzHarvest. He is on the go-to list of Australia’s rich and famous for privately catered dinners and is in high demand for consultancies and appearances at food festivals and events – a testimony to his talent and status as a respected member of the Australian hospitality industry.
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