Watts’s love for cooking is intrinsically connected to the natural world.If she’s not in the kitchen, there’s a good chance you’ll find her tending to Barragunda Estate’s market garden or foraging for treasures on the Mornington Peninsula back beaches.  

Watts began her career under chefs Greg Malouf (MoMo) and Adam D’Sylva (Pearl), then went on to work in Canada and Asia before returning home to settle into a role as head chef at Melbourne dining institution Coda. After over a decade in busy inner-city restaurants she had an awakening, realising that city life was not where her heart was. A new food journey beckoned. 

She spent the next four years travelling around Australia and abroad, working hands-on over a series of regenerative farms and hospitality practices before bringing her hyper-local philosophies and a unique use of native ingredients to a new role as executive chef at the Daintree Ecolodge in Far North Queensland. 

In 2020 Watts returned home to the Mornington Peninsula to work on opening her dream restaurant: a 40-seat greenhouse space at Barragunda Estate. While preparations for the boutique dining experience continue, Watts has taken time to grow her horticultural prowess, and become in sync with the farm’s seasons and produce. 

In managing the market garden her vision for creating ethically and sustainably sourced produce has sprung to life. Watts grows all of the produce for Barragunda Estate’s events, catering and collaborations, and supplies to many local grocers on the Mornington Peninsula. 

Through her menus Watts is a storyteller: her dishes are a rich anthology paying homage to farmers and artisans who share her passion for the finest produce, grown with the greatest respect for the land from which it springs.