Chef restaurateur Scott Pickett and publican Craig Shearer have united in a new hospitality partnership and secured the lease for the food and beverage outlets at The Continental Sorrento (previously Hotel Continental), owned by a consortium comprising Victor Smorgon Group, Kanat Group and Trenerry Property.

Located on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, and following a sensitive, state-of-the-art restoration, The Continental Sorrento will occupy the current 145-year-old heritage-listed limestone building. Multiple food and beverage outlets spanning fine dining, casual and both indoor and outdoor spaces will feature alongside 108 spacious guest rooms managed by IHG Hotels & Resorts. The Continental Sorrento will also feature a wellness centre incorporating a luxury bathhouse, an outdoor pool and gym.

The food and beverage outlets will include signature restaurant, Audrey’s – named after Pickett’s grandmother who inspired him to cook – a public bar, beer garden, conservatory, poolside, street dining, late-night venue, and 24 hour in-room dining, as well as a sunset roof deck.

When it opens the project, known as ‘The Conti’, will also feature a host of function spaces including the building’s original grand ballroom restored to its former glory. Smaller private rooms, as well as the Halcyon Hall, will cater to a wide variety of events.

Shearer’s expertise in owning and managing high volume drinking spaces, including current venues The Terminus, North Fitzroy, The Plough, South Brisbane and The Collective, Palm Beach, will align with Pickett’s culinary pedigree to deliver on the cuisine, service and hospitality of each venue.

The expansion of Pickett’s portfolio of restaurants over the last 12 months to include Longrain, Chancery Lane and Le Shoppe in Melbourne’s CBD provide a platform of inspiration for menus that will range from pub classics to degustation dining.

Commenting on the new F&B partnership Pickett says: “The Continental Sorrento is such a beautiful and significant establishment. I feel humbled to be associated with it and am excited to bring our food and hospitality to Sorrento.”

Adding: “It’s been brilliant working with Craig across areas that are new to us like high volume bars and large patron numbers expected to reach up to 5,000 a day. It’s a little bit different from where I started with a 30 seater restaurant in Northcote.”

Craig Shearer says: “It’s amazing to work with Scott and his team. We’re opening at the beginning of peak season, so we have to hit our stride quickly. This is an incredible addition to the Mornington Peninsula and I’m really looking forward to opening the doors to all our venues and seeing the place full and buzzing.”

Development Manager and part owner, Robert Dicintio also comments: “The Continental Sorrento is a significant project for the Mornington Peninsula community and Victoria. Our high calibre project design and construction team led by Hamilton Marino Builders are privileged to take on the restoration of this iconic 145-year-old heritage building. We are passionately committed to delivering a stand-out establishment that the locals truly deserve. We are equally proud of the creation of up to 270 direct jobs along with realising the site’s potential as a tourist destination for the benefit of all.”

Adding: “The team we have established in Scott and Craig is exceptional, both are highly successful operators and absolute leaders in the hospitality industry in Australia.  We are excited to see their venues alive and thriving, serving both locals and visitors, and complementing the 108-room luxury InterContinental Resort Hotel.”