Chef Wade Watson: The Man Behind Bondi & Bourke

Chef Wade Watson: The Man Behind Bondi & Bourke


Chef Wade Watson shares his musings on running his restaurant, his passion for cooking, and letting go of old habits

This is an excerpt from MEGA’s December 2022 – January 2023 Dining feature.

Known for its scrumptious classics, such as steaks, big beef burgers, and savory meat pies, Bondi & Bourke, which opened in 2015, is the culmination of the years-long culinary journey of Wade Watson, who dislikes being called “chef.” 

From washing dishes at the age of 13 to becoming an apprentice chef and eventually an executive chef of some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world, the Australian-native cook almost, if not wholly, worked at every station inside a kitchen. He knows it like the back of his hand.

After serving a multitude of restaurants around the globe, Wade reveals he now sees what his work truly entails—that being at the helm of his own restaurant can mean rethinking his work ethic and leadership style. 

Admittedly no longer as aggressive as before, Wade says he has learned to become more lenient toward his employees while still ensuring that his customers receive the quality food and service that the restaurant owes them. 

“My job is to get customers really good food service…I don’t care what comes—nothing will come between us and doing that.” 

Chef Wade Watson

Managing a restaurant also means finding the right team for your kitchen. Not a huge fan of culinary schools, the self-taught cook says his kitchen staff do not need an impressive resume. “You learn on the job,” he says passionately. “We hire the ones with the best attitude, those whom I can teach, rather than some entitled people sent by their parents to an expensive school.”

Disclosing that he rarely faces the stove anymore, Wade says he misses cooking. But he also understands that what he does is vital in keeping his business afloat, especially during the pandemic when he was forced to recalibrate the business.

Read more about the evolution of Chef Wade’s passion for cooking and his long journey to entrepreneurial maturity in MEGA’s December 2022 – January 2023 issue, now available on Readly, Magzter, Press Reader, and Zinio

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