In conversation with Hamish Ingham, General Manager, Lotus Dining Group

Hamish Ingham’s contribution to the Sydney dining landscape has been significant, beginning with being awarded the prestigious 2004 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year Award, having worked under Kylie Kwong, before opening the cutting edge BAR H in 2010, consulting to the Four Seasons Hotel from 2012 to 2013, and opening Banksii Vermouth Bar and Bistro in 2016. Hamish also worked overseas with the legendary Alice Waters at the iconic Chez Panisse in San Francisco. He now brings his considerable skill set to the Lotus Dining Group as General Manager.

Can you tell us about your vision as General Manager for the Lotus Dining Group?
My vision for the Lotus Dining Group is to continue providing the best authentic Chinese cuisine in Sydney. Whether you’re sitting down to a banquet with your family, or dropping in for a delicious cocktail and dumplings with friends, our food and drinks menus are approachable, creative, and combine traditional Chinese recipes and cooking methods with Australian ingredients.

Prior to joining the Lotus Dining Group, your own restaurants have been renowned, not only for the exceptional food, but also for quality service delivery. What attributes are you looking for in your front of house staff in your new role?
We’re really setting the bar high for the future of Lotus Dining Group’s front of house staff. I’m looking for staff with plenty of personality, enthusiasm, fun, but also being professional and knowledgeable. They are trained to be able to recommend dishes and suggest drink matches while creating a great atmosphere. Lotus Double Bay and Chi by Lotus will be the perfect examples of what I’m expecting across the group.

How would you best describe the food philosophy at Lotus Double Bay?
Lotus Double Bay’s Head Chef Chris Yan has designed a menu that celebrates the joy of great Australian produce along with his humble roots growing up in a rural village outside of Shanghai. His food is clean, honest, creative, and designed to share.

There is a noticeably strong cocktail game at play at Lotus Double Bay, and that has always been a feature of restaurants you have been involved with, how important is that to the overall experience you look to provide?
It’s very important that we create that well-rounded experience for our guests. Lotus Double Bay and Chi by Lotus are the great examples of balanced food and beverage programs and we’re rolling this approach out across the group.

The essence of the word hospitality has always been a core part of who you are. Can you elaborate on what it means to you?
To me, hospitality is all about looking after people and giving them an experience as though they’re visiting you in your own home. When you have friends or family over you want them to enjoy fantastic food, great music, comfortable surroundings and a memorable overall experience.

Can you tell us what excites you about what the future holds for the Lotus Dining Group?
Lotus Dining Group is an exciting group to work for – there are plenty of opportunities for trying new things and experimenting. I’m looking forward to helping the group reach its full potential and elevating the overall experience of every venue.

Lotus Dining Group

Image credit: Alana Dimou

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