Matt Moran’s flagship restaurant is welcoming a new face to the 21-year-old fine diner – Thomas Gorringe, former chef at harbourside restaurant Pier One’s The Gantry.

It’s the second time Moran has hired from the awarded restaurant. Aria’s outgoing executive chef Joel Bickford is heading to two big-deal openings by The Point Group, one at Fort Denison and the other in the new Shell House development.

But Aria’s not missing a beat – Moran and the Solotel hospitality team have called Gorringe one of the top young chefs of the moment. Originally from the Southern Highlands, Gorringe cut his teeth at Bowral’s Milton Park Country House and Sydney’s Otto. He moved to Canada in 2012 to work as senior sous chef at Bearfoot Bistro before returning to Australia for the head chef role at Eschalot in Berrima. Later moving to Sydney to work at Bentley Restaurant and Bar before joining The Gantry.

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In the top job at Aria, Gorringe will continue the fine diner’s legacy of championing Australian produce in the best possible way. He’ll also take on a new challenge – launching Aria Wine Bar with general manager Alex Kirkwood. The new bar space will have a snack-style menu where guests can pull up a pew and enjoy a casual drink and feed before dining in the restaurant or heading to a show at Sydney Opera House.

What’s your new job title?
Executive chef. In essence, my role will be to create innovative seasonal menus in collaboration with Matt, that continues to build upon Aria’s legacy of championing Australian producers and suppliers. While also working with Alex to pair that menu with Aria’s award-winning wine menu and create an amazing dining experience overall.

Why did you decide to make the move to Aria?
This role with Aria is, to me, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To be able to work with Matt, who I’ve always admired as a chef in terms of his cooking style and commitment to Australian produce, was a no-brainer.

Do you have any fun plans or ideas for your new role?
It’s such an exciting time to be joining Aria. To be given the opportunity to work alongside Alex on the launch of Aria Wine Bar is a challenge I’m really looking forward to. I love the idea of popping into Aria mid-week for some incredible drinks and tasty snacks while enjoying one of the best views in the world. It’s a really accessible way to dabble in the Aria experience or warm up for the main event. [It’s] a really fun project to be part of.

Will you bring along any dishes or ideas you’re known for?

As a chef, I think you’re constantly striving to refine and improve dishes and this lockdown has been a great opportunity [for me] to learn more. Rather than bringing any specific dishes, I’m really just looking forward to getting in the kitchen and creating dishes that continue to showcase the best Aussie produce I can get my hands on.

Will we see any cool dishes or ideas that might thrill diners?

We’ve definitely got a few surprises in store, particularly on the wine bar menu. You’ll have to wait and see for yourself.

Aria will reopen shortly after Sydney’s lockdown ends.