Steve Watson

Steve Watson

Born: 

Born in Cyprus – English Father / Greek Cypriot Mother. 

History: 

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.

Venus & Co Kitchen & Bar

Venus & Co Kitchen & Bar

Provincial Greek Cypriot cuisine with a modern twist is on the menu at Venus & Co Kitchen & Bar on Victoria Avenue in Albert Park. Using recipes passed down through generations alongside fresh and contemporary dishes, this trendy restaurant brings a slice of the Aegean to Melbourne with whitewashed walls, vibrant aqua artwork and trailing greenery creating an oasis ideal for leisurely dining. Choose a table under the glow of pendent globes and begin with street corn over coals, goats' curd, halloumi crumbs and Cypriot black salt; then share 12-hour baked goat kleftiko, potatoes, lemon and goat milk feta. Room to spare? Try rose pavlova with strawberry sorbet, raspberry cream and Summer berries; while those dining in groups may opt for the Chef's choice banquet for the whole table to enjoy.

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