Wayne's cooking legacy

Member News image Jorja with the book inspired by her father


First lieutenant Wayne Watts was a dedicated volunteer with Junortoun Fire Brigade for more than ten years before he sadly passed away from a heart attack in 2015. 



His daughter, Jorja, was keen to find a way to continue to support the brigade while also continuing Wayne’s passion for cooking.

“Through lockdown I was spending more time in the kitchen and always texting mum for dad’s recipes,” Jorja said. “Initially I thought a recipe book would make a nice family Christmas present.

“When I started doing the maths for the number of books and the quality, I realised that it would be a significant undertaking, so I thought why not promote it further and raise money for CFA.”

Jorja’s efforts resulted in a 65-recipe cookbook called Watts Cooking? which includes desserts, roasts, curries and stirfries. All profits from the book are given to Junortoun Fire Brigade.

Jorja said it was still sinking in that her dad’s love for cooking would live on and continue to support the organisation he loved.

“Dad was, and my entire family are, involved in CFA. After his passing, the brigade named one of the tankers after him,” she added. “Even five years later, they still refer to the truck as Wattsy, rather than tanker two. We’ve sold over 260 books already and I’ve just given the first donation of $3,000 to the brigade and I’m looking forward to making more.”

Jorja and her mum personally deliver the books around the Bendigo area but customers around the world have also shown their support.

“We’ve had people purchase books from Australia, New Zealand and even Europe,” she said. “The support has been overwhelming. So many people have made donations to the brigade on top of their purchase which is incredible.”

Junortoun brigade Captain Heath Martin said the Watts family has made a huge impact on the brigade.

“Wattsy was described as the big friendly giant,” Heath said. “He was nearly seven feet tall, a friendly and warm person who slotted into the brigade perfectly.

“Working his way through the ranks, he was never one to stand at the front, but he was always there to support and was passionate about fundraising, so to see Jorja carry this on is truly fantastic.

“When Jorja first told us about the book, we really wanted to support her and make sure she wasn’t going to be out of pocket,” he added. “All the profits she makes go directly to the brigade.

“We’re about to turn the soil on our new station site and there will be a lot of costs along the way. We’ll be able to use the funds raised from Watts Cooking? to help get the station started.

“It’s a fantastic book. The daughter of another one of our brigade members did a lot of the artwork for it so it’s been a real brigade effort.”

Heath said the book is a credit to Jorja.

“Jorja is a true inspiration, I don’t know many people who have achieved what she has at such a young age.”

To find out more or to buy a book head to wattscooking.com.au



  • Member News imageWayne Watts
Submitted by News and Media