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Chris Watson, Old Town's new Chef de Cuisine

Posted on Jan 16,2009
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community, Restaurants , Local Tastes,
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A native Virginian, Chris Watson brings a
diverse culinary background to his new
posting in Old Town. Next month, Watson
takes the reins of celebrated chef Robert
Wiedmaier's two new Old Town
restaurants, BRABO by Robert
Wiedmaier and BRABO Tasting Room.

Growing up in Fredericksburg, Chris Watson's grandfather taught him how to hunt and fly fish in the backwoods of Stafford County. Other family members showed him how to cook the fruits of my foraging.
 
Later, he made the star tour of top kitchens in Washington, Houston, Los Angeles and Italy. All of these skills will come into play as Watson takes the reins of celebrated chef Robert Wiedmaier's two new Old Town restaurants, BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier and BRABO Tasting Room.
 
The restaurants are scheduled to open next month at 1600 King Street and the menus which will change seasonally. "They will be inspired by Belgian and American classics," he said.
 
A native Virginian, Chris Watson brings a diverse culinary background to his new posting. His career has taken him to the West and East Coast, and to explore opportunities to broaden his knowledge in Italy and Hawaii. Watson said he will work with Wiedmaier with the launch and operations of both new restaurants in Alexandria, as well the upcoming retail component, The Butcher’s Block, a Market by RW.
 
Watson hails from Fredericksburg and credits his family for his passion of food and cooking.  "At a very early age my grandfather taught me how to hunt and fly fish and other family members showed me how to cook the fruits of my foraging," he recalled.   
 
It was full circle when Watson took the next step to attend culinary school at The College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Norfolk.  His first two jobs were in Richmond at The Commonwealth Club and The Jefferson Club and in 1999, he landed the position as Chef de Cuisine for the Quattro Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston.
 
After three years in Texas, Watson decided to head further West and continue his fine dining experience and took the position as the restaurant chef for the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel’s fine dining room in Los Angeles.  
 
While in LA, he also worked for the restaurant conglomerate, Patina Restaurant Group, and worked as a sous chef in their flagship restaurant, Patina, and as an executive sous chef at their popular steakhouse, Nick & Stef’s.
 
Watson felt it was important to expand his knowledge of other cultures and cooking techniques and journeyed to Italy in 2004 and staged for a total of six months at three different one Michelin Star restaurants; Il Sole, in Bologna, Lido Lido in Cesenatico and Taverna del Capitano in Masa Lurese.   
 
After a successful tour in Italy, Watson was tapped by the Four Seasons Hotel to consult on the opening of its Italian restaurant project in Lana’i, Hawaii. He then returned to work for the Patina Restaurant Group as the chef de cuisine at their Italian eatery, Zucca in Los Angeles.
 
Watson moved back to Washington, DC in 2006 to be closer to his East Coast family and took the position of chef de cuisine for the well-known organic chef Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora.  
 
"It was a desire to get back to my fine-dining discipline," he said, "which lead me to pursue an opportunity to work for Robert Wiedmaier."
 
Watson and Wiemaier share a common Four Seasons Hotel culinary background. Watson was elevated to executive sous chef at Marcel’s and assisted in the opening of Wiedmaier’s Brasserie Beck in 2007.  
 
When asked of Watson what knowledge he has attained working for the demanding Wiedmaier, he says, “I’ve not only learned how to cook better, but how to properly run a restaurant.”
 
Watson lives in the District, has one daughter and continues to hunt and fish in the hills of Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.
 
The name BRABO is derived from the legendary hero Silvius Brabo who defeated an evil giant who terrorized sailors. His monumental statue is the centerpiece of the Grand Place in Antwerp, Belgium, the city where Wiedmaier's father was born and raised.



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