Nicola Palmer

Creative Licensee & Executive Chef, Watervale Hotel

Nicola Palmer grew up in the Clare Valley where her parents operated Skillogalee Winery and Restaurant. Nicola graduated in Visual Arts and became a commercial jeweller before being called back to the family business to manage the restaurant. Necessity led to her training as a Chef, becoming Head Chef as her first role in a kitchen with Skillogalee being awarded ‘Best Winery Restaurant’.

Nicola left one family business to start another – the Watervale Hotel – in 2018. Nicola designed the menu, the interior and exterior design of the renovation, the kitchen, and the website. Nicola manages the Watervale Hotel and the organic, bio-dynamic Penobscot Farm which supplies the restaurant. The Watervale Hotel has been awarded ‘2022 Best Restaurant in a Pub or Club in Australia’ by the Restaurant and Catering Association; 2022 Best Tourism Restaurant by the Tourism Industry Council of SA, and 2021 Best Sustainable and Environmental Practices of any Hotel in Australia by the Australian Hotels Association. Nicola is the 2022 SA Chef of the Year (RCA), and was also awarded Australian Business Woman of the Year for the Restaurant Division in 2022.