Ben McNair, head sommelier at Stokehouse Q, has been appointed as the group beverages manager of the Van Haandel Group.

McNair has over 22 years’ of experience within the hospitality industry, starting his career at Bennelong Restaurant in the Sydney Opera House and then moving to the McConnell Group at Cutler & Co. McNair then moved to Brisbane in 2011 to take on a role at Stokehouse Q as head sommelier.

In this new role McNair will oversee the beverages of the entire suite of venues for the Van Haandel Group, including Stokehouse Q (Brisbane), Fatto Bar & Cantina (Melbourne) and the highly anticipated re-launch of Stokehouse St Kilda.

This year, Stokehouse Q won the Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year for Queensland, and has been awarded a 3 Glass rating for five years in a row. McNair was also runner up of Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of the Year 2017 Restaurant Awards and a finalist for the Ruinart Sommeliers Challenge 2014.

Ramon Arnavas will replace Ben as head sommelier at Stokehouse Q, who has 15 years’ experience at a range of prominent restaurants in Italy and then Brisbane, including Montrachet, Urbane and 1889 Enoteca.

Stokehouse St Kilda will relaunch in December this year, following a devastating fire in 2014. The new building will comprise the fine diner on the first floor, and a more casual concept, Pontoon, on the ground floor, which will open in October. There will also be a premium fish and chip offering, called Paper Fish.


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