The Van Haandel Group has announced the appointment of a new executive chef for Stokehouse Q, Brisbane.

Come spring, Oliver Hansford will take the reigns from outgoing executive chef Richard Ousby, who split his time between Stokehouse’s Brisbane and Melbourne venues. The Van Haandel Group and Ousby recently announced they will part ways after six years.

Hansford joined Stokehouse Q in 2013 after moving to Australia from the UK. He later took the role of head chef at Brisbane restaurant Gauge. After receiving the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year 2016 award, Hansford returned to the Van Haandel Group, moving to Melbourne, where he was appointed head chef at Stokehouse St Kilda.

“There is no one who knows Stokehouse better than Ollie and he was our obvious choice to take over the helm at Stokehouse Q,” says Frank van Haandel. “We love being a part of the Brisbane dining community and we know that Ollie will embrace all that Brisbane has to offer.”

Hansford has overseen the relaunch of Stokehouse St Kilda, pairing the Stokehouse tradition and history with his personal ethos of sustainable, produce-driven dishes — a constant force behind his cooking throughout his career.

“I have been fortunate at Stokehouse St Kilda to have the support of a great team and the freedom to really consider which producers we work with,” says Hansford. “It is a big decision for me to make this move, however I am not leaving Stokehouse and I know that St Kilda is so well placed and in great hands.

“It has been an incredible 48 hours for me. To be offered this opportunity to take another step up with the Group which has shown so much faith in me since I came to Australia is really humbling. I know the Stokehouse Q team well and am looking forward to working with them all again, particularly Marcel (head chef).”

His passion for food evident from a young age, Hansford studied at highly regarded London catering college Westminster Kingsway. His experience in Europe spans London’s Soho House, as well as working with Michelin-starred chefs Simon Hague at Mallory Court and Galton Blackiston at Morston Hall in Norfolk. Hansford’s final role in the UK was at the two Rosette Woodhouse Restaurant.

The Van Haandel group is now on the hunt for a replacement to join the ranks of previous Stokehouse St Kilda chefs including Oliver Gould, Anthony Musarra, Maurice Esposito and Michael Lambie. “We pride ourselves on delivering dining experiences which reflect tomorrow’s expectations, we are excited to speak with the up and coming generation of Chefs from across Australia and beyond,” says van Haandel.

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