Kobi Watson isn’t your average teenager. The Balnarring 17-year-old is a chef and business owner. With the support of his parents, he bought his first business in November at the age of 16 – now a casual pizza and pasta bar in McCrae called Kobi Jack’s. You could say business is in his DNA. Mornington Peninsula Magazine sat down with this remarkable young man and his mum, Carol, who works on the restaurant floor, to find out more.
How did this come about at such a young age?
Kobi: It’s a long story. Mum and Dad have always had cafes and restaurants and I’ve always worked in them. I worked for a florist when I was about 10. Mum and Dad also had a milk bar and I helped out there too.
Carol: When he was three he had a fully operational post office in his bedroom where we used to have to write letters and post mail, and Kobi was so disciplined in sorting the mail and making sure it was always delivered. I thought back then, “He’s going to be a businessman.” He was born with it. He’s always been passionate about business.
How has Kobi Jack’s been received?
Kobi: I’ve been humbled by the overwhelming support of all the locals and our regular customers. I guess how busy it’s been reflects how it’s been received.
How did you come to buy the business?
Kobi: I was in London and I saw it advertised online and I thought, “I could buy that!” I said to Mum, “Do you reckon I’m too young?”
What does Kobi Jack’s stand for?
Kobi: Kobi is my first name, Jack is my middle name. Dad has always called me Kobi Jack. It was a name used by other people and it sort of stuck.
Do you have a celebrity chef you admire?
Kobi: Chefs don’t usually idolise celebrity chefs. I just admire the incredible quality of what’s being forged on the Peninsula by the hard-working producers.
Do you watch celebrity cooking shows?
Kobi: No, I’m at work at 7pm on a Friday night, cooking for my own customers, living my own food dream.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
Kobi: I do a fair bit of running, all the normal things. I like going out to other restaurants and I try to catch up with friends and watching sport. I try to be 17.
Is Mum proud?
Carol: Very. I always say to him, “Take a breath and look at what you’ve created.” He’s like an old soul with such a level head.
Do you use local produce?
Kobi: Yes, I try to source local where I can, of course, and I’ve had incredible help and support from all the local producers and suppliers that I’ve used. They’ve really backed me.
Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5.30pm
A: 677 Point Nepean Rd, McCrae
T: 5986 2100