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About The Chef

Executive Chef, Simone Watts

Watts began her career working under Adam D’Sylvia at Pearl before spending 5 years alongside Greg Malouf at the legendary establishment MoMo, where she fell in love with the flavours of the silk road. Having worked alongside some of Australia’s leading chefs, she brings with her a wealth of experience.

Watts’ ongoing passion for cooking has been fuelled by travelling and seeing the world anew. Over the last decade she has travelled and worked in various countries such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia and Canada, but has always called Australia home. As head chef at the iconic modern Asian restaurant ‘Coda’ she created a platform to share these travel experiences with others via the senses.

After working in busy inner-city restaurants for many years, Watts had what she refers to as a ‘mid-life conscious crisis’.

“I no longer felt I could cook for the masses without the ability to prove my produce was ethically and sustainably sourced. It was no longer my role to simply provide customers with interesting food, but to use my voice as a chef to educate and inspire others to make more mindful choices with what they consume.” 

After this revelation Simone left her job in the city and spent 2 years travelling around Australia and abroad to learn more about sustainable farming and hospitality practices. Her journey lead her to spend time on biodynamic and organic vegetable farms, artesian dairies, free-range meat farms, no-waste kitchens and native Australian fruit plantations just to name a few.

Since joining the team at Daintree Ecolodge earlier this year she has introduced a truly sustainable approach to Julaymba’s seasonally driven culinary offering. She is a passionate advocate of sourcing local, organic, ethically produced ingredients, which is reflected in Julaymba’s current menu.

Inspired by the earth and the native produce of Far North Queensland, she is ever conscious of the environment and the importance of making respectful and mindful choices when it comes to food. Her vision is to create a unique and completely sustainable food experience at Julaymba whilst not compromising on flavour.