History of Elm Dining

Elm is located at one of Bright’s most iconic and historically significant locations; the Victorian cottage at 98 Gavan St, Bright. For over 100 years, this was the surgery and residence for Bright’s doctors from 1857 to 1977.

The cottage then took on a new lease of life when it became Barnaby’s Restaurant. Several other dining establishments followed including Cloveily Cottage, Rebekka’s at Bright, and Simones. The building has also been home to professional offices, and an art gallery.

Elm and The Yard Bright, has had a refurbishment and an extension to The Yard, so we can all have a cracking Summer by the river in beautiful Bright.

About Us

Traverse Alpine Group (TAG) is an experienced hospitality operator with a demonstrated track record in delivering a high standard of food & beverage services and hotels in regional areas. Traverse Alpine Group is the largest hospitality employer in Falls Creek and a growing employer in the Albury/Wodonga and Bright regions.

With a passion for exceptional food and savvy beverage offerings in much loved venues, TAG is at the forefront of the hospitality and entertainment industries delivering fresh, exciting, and innovative hospitality for all our guests.

Our Team

Our people are one of the most significant assets in the TAG family. Now, the Astra Falls Creek team will come together to deliver an expertly crafted “Elm Experience”. Combining local knowledge and global experience Elm is now managed and staffed by a team with passion, knowledge and personality. Most importantly each team member has expressed a love for their craft. We are confident that when you enter Elm, you will feel the difference. Elm is as much a tourist destination as a local staple.

Elm Restaurant Manager
David Featherston

David began his hospitality journey in the kitchen running a well-known and much-loved eatery on the foreshore at Hardys Bay, on the NSW Central Coast. 

In 2018, the mountains and regional dining scene lured David and his family to Bright, Victoria where he opened Elm Dining and later The Yard Bar & Grill. Here David made his transition from Head Chef to Host building a far-reaching community connection. 

In 2021, David sold Elm to the team at Traverse Alpine Group.  

We are thrilled David will continue to manage Elm.  We are excited to work with David who has a breadth of local knowledge and passion for creating an unforgettable dining experience for his guests.

Head Chef - Kauri Watkin​

Traverse Alpine Group are excited to welcome Kauri Watkin as Head Chef at Elm Dining.

With experience gained right across Australia, in both regional areas and major cities, Kauri’s love for local produce and seasonally inspired cooking took root in Hastings Street in Noosa Queensland growing up on the coastal beaches of Coolum.

After traveling around the world learning different techniques, and working under award winning chefs, Kauri moved to Japan to further his knowledge and understanding of Japanese food and culture.

Working at the highly awarded Kaiseki Restaurant Kumahiko Arashiyama he gained a true understanding of Japanese cooking and tradition.

After leading the way at Award Winning Astra Falls Creek during Winter 2021 with a skillfully crafted shared dining experience, Kauri now moves to Elm for our reopening.

Sous Chef - Monica Melendez

At the age of 15 Monica began her lifelong love affair with food while working in her local Italian restaurant in Melbourne.

From humble beginnings, Monica’s love for cooking, and appreciation of food continued to grow while she completed her apprenticeship at Rosetta Restaurant. After working with the Rockpool Group, Monica embarked on overseas travel to advance her knowledge of cuisines and cultures from all around the world.  On her return to Melbourne, Monica loved her time at Dinner By Heston Blumenthal.

Looking for a change, Monica became the Chef de Partie at Astra Restaurant, Falls Creek for the 2020 snow season. In the summer of 2020, Monica enjoyed her role as Sous Chef at Elm Dining, where she created exciting menu items and signature dishes.

Monica returned to Astra as Sous Chef in the 2021 winter, and she is now incredibly excited to continue her role at Elm.  

Sommelier - Matt Cridge

Born & bred in the English countryside, Matt is delighted to join the Elm Dining team as Sommelier. With over a dozen years’ experience in hospitality, Matt has left behind the apples and hops, customary ingredients in the ciders and beers of Somerset, to dive headfirst into the world of wine here in Victoria.  

Matt based himself the renown Yarra Valley for the last three years and fell in love with the cultivation and harvesting of grapes. He was enthralled by the ever-changing climatic factors that grape growers face and impressed by the extraordinary effort shown by winemakers who protect the season’s precious offering with conscientious work.

Matt swirls his way through the individual delights to be savoured in a glass of wine from many of the world’s best terroirs. He revels in acknowledging the generations of hard work that goes into each vintage, and delights in retelling the secret stories revealed by carefully decoding a wine label. Matt combines his knowledge of wine with admiration for those who protect their land and intervene with the vintage when only necessary. 

Having just finished a snow season with Elms sister restraint, Astra Falls Creek, Matt now looks forward to taking you on an engaging and authentic wine adventure when you dine at Elm.

The Yard Bright Supervisor - Lucas Croft

In 2018, Lucas joined the TAG family at Cloud 9 in Falls Creek. Lucas demonstrated diligence and attention to detail, and his career quickly took off with TAG. Lucas has successfully managed Frying Pan Inn, Cloud 9, and Huski Kitchen at Falls Creek.

With more than 10 years’ experience in the hospitality sector, and a keen love for the snowfields, Lucas has worked in venues throughout Canada and Australia. 

Lucas is excited to be now heading to the Yard to share with you his love for innovative cocktails and great service.

Weddings & Functions - Sarah

Sarah has refined her love for creating special occasions from intimate romantic dinners to large wedding celebrations over the last 10 years.  With experience in some of Melbourne’s most iconic dining establishments, as well as Regionally  throughout Victoria’s Alpine Region and the Yarra Valley, Sarah has developed a love that comes from presenting beautiful food and wine to all her guests and creating memories that last a lifetime.

Sarah has a knack for bringing new and fresh ideas to each celebration, and will take your vision and make it memorable for you and your loved ones.

Elm's Sister Restaurants

TAG is the largest hospitality employer in Falls Creek and a growing employer in the Albury/Wodonga and Bright regions.

With a passion for exceptional food and savvy beverage offerings in much loved venues, TAG is at the forefront of the hospitality and entertainment industries delivering fresh, exciting, and innovative hospitality and entertainment for all our guests. Our Sister restaurants include: