Hannah Watt: 30 Under 30

Published on 15 June 2022

Photo: Hannah Watt (photo: Clint Peloso).

Growing up in Shepparton in the north of Victoria, Hannah Watt was surrounded by great produce. After working extensively around Melbourne, she’s now developed a true appreciation of fresh produce by applying precise technique and bold flavour to each ingredient. 

Hi, my name is Hannah Watt. 

Right now I'm working as a sous chef at Bellota.

Before that I worked at Noir in Richmond, and did stints at Woodland House and Omnia. My passion for Asian cuisine came from Jerry Mai, working for her at Annam for a little over two years. 

All up I’ve been working as a chef for around eight years, all of them in Victoria. 

I’m passionate about classic French technique, but also big Southeast Asian flavours. Food that’s not too fussy but show-stopping because it’s balanced and super tasty.

Which means I love cooking things that are full of flavour and comforting like a ragù served with your body weight in buttery mash, or a hot and sour broth and a spicy laab. 

At 30 under 30 ill be cooking a cured mackerel, tofu purée, poached radish and grilled pepper marinated in lemongrass sate, finished with Vietnamese mint. 

The person I'm most looking forward to cooking with at 30 Under 30 isRosheen Kaul. Her food is complex but not over the top, which I think is a hard balance to achieve. 

My favourite things to eat in Victoria are Nana Mookata: Thai food that’s not made to cater to an Australian palate; and Etta really is a standout for interesting flavours, a good wine list and attentive service. 

Finally, the big change I'd like to see in our food and drink scene in the next 30 years is more incentive for young chefs. It would be great to continue to see enthusiastic and talented chefs be given platforms to grow within the industry. Hospitality was hit so hard throughout COVID lockdowns, but it still has a long way to go due to staff shortages and a lack of people wanting to work in hospitality. 

Catch Hannah Watt at the 30 Under 30 Gala dinner on Thursday 28 July and at the 30 Under 30 dinner at Society on Wednesday 10 August.

 

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