AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Steve Watson

Steve Watson


Born in Cyprus – English Father / Greek Cypriot Mother. 


I got my start when I was lucky enough to land an apprenticeship at Mietta’s in the late 80’s under Jacques Reymond.

After stints in the early 90’s at Marchetti, Fanny’s and Travelodge I landed my first Head Chef position in ’93 at Tony & Adriana’s ‘Rogalsky’ and ‘Locanda Veneta.’

In 1996 I finally opened my first successful restaurant in Block Arcade - Café Cortile.

After a successful run at my first restaurant I became Head Chef at Hairy Canary Spanish Tapas in 2002.

Soon after (in 2005) I opened my second restaurant in Essendon with my wife – Omni. It was a fusion of garnered knowledge with Spanish, French and Italian influences.

After the success of Omni, I decided to leave the kitchen for a while and became a sales manager at Ocean Made Seafood and later the buying and purchasing manager for Flavours Fruit & Veg.

It wasn’t long before I found myself back in the kitchen where my passion lies, as Head Chef at the Compass Group.

Today I’m living out my dream in my third restaurant, ‘Venus & Co’ where I pour my love and passion for food onto a plate.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

Absolutely! It all started when I started cooking on my Dad’s boat over the South China Sea.

How would you define your style?

Simple and produce-driven, with classical French, Italian, Spanish and Greek accents.

What is your feature flavour these days?

Cypriot herbs and spices, cinnamon, coriander seeds, rose, orange blossom and oregano.

Obsessive-compulsive about?

Fresh produce and correct labelling and dating of prep. Also keeping the work area clean.

Your greatest culinary influence: 

My biggest influence by far has been family and the dozens and dozens of Chefs I’ve worked with over the 30+ years.

What do you love about this business?

I love that every day is different and surprising people about Cypriot food.

An ingredient you can’t live without? 

Can’t live without good, natural Sea Salt.

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item? 

12-hour lamb shoulder.

Signature dish: 

Goat kleftiko.