My Kitchen Rules (MKR NZ) contestant Vikki Gorton-Tibbits, grew up in east Auckland – mainly Howick and Botany till she travelled overseas at 23. Currently living in the Bay of Plenty with husband Pascal, daughter, three teenage stepsons, and a few farm animals, the interior designer, with a passion for renovations and cooking, describes the MKR experience as ‘epic’!
Q. What inspired you to participate in MKR?
I’ve always dreamed of being put to the test on a cooking show, but never thought I’d be brave enough to do it. I’ve got the passion and the skills, but it’s the joint effort between Pascal and I, that gave me the confidence to do it.
Q. How did you prepare for MKR?
Pascal and I cook a lot, all the time at home and we enjoy cooking for family, and friends. Once we knew we were going to be contestants, we kept cooking and perfecting the flavours and elements. Our friends and family were our honest critics before we cooked for the celebrity judges.
Q. Tell us about your love for food apart from your passion for interior design?
We love to dine out, try new food and drinks, and love hosting dinner parties. If its someone’s birthday we’ll be the first to offer hosting the event, and quite often put a ‘theme’ to the cuisine of the evening. I always make sure there is a mix of tried and tested recipes, and a few experimental ones! It’s the combination of designing a menu (with drinks) so it all balances together alongside the theme, plus designing a setting for the table to make it a complete dining experience. A bit like designing a home – it all needs to connect and have a common theme for balance and style. Cooking is my active relaxing activity, it’s a creative outlet and that makes people very happy.
Q. Does your clean design style extend to your cooking style as well?
I would say my cooking style is a bit more experimental. It pushes the boundaries on flavour, spice and combinations, especially when it comes to dinner parties. We love to use fresh ingredients – even better if it comes from our farm or local produce, which we are lucky to have in the BOP.
Q. What was the selection process like for MKR?
We had to send in a video – Pascal and I were driving up to Auckland and I decided it’s now or never to shoot this video, so we sent it off, with our fingers crossed. Next was a zoom interview with the producer, followed by an in-person interview whilst being filmed in our kitchen together, making an audition dish. It was a long wait to see if we were shortlisted, but worth it as we were so excited when we received the good news.
Q. Was there a time when your nerves got the better of you?
I was running on a mix of excitement and adrenaline – it’s not every day you get to cook for two esteemed chefs! We always said to ourselves, to just do what we know, what we love and don’t stray from the plan. A bit like how I approach design – by having a solid concept, it will always help keep you on track.
Q. Your favourite/proudest moment at MKR?
You’ll have to stay tuned to see us cook at our instant restaurant episode!
Q. Who are you more partial to? Manu or Colin?
They both have a different charm – Colin is the cheeky Irishman while Manu is a classic French gentleman! Both are very entertaining and awesome guys to spend time at the dinner table.
Q. Biggest challenge?
It’s cooking to a time limit, a self-confessed perfectionist and time constraints don’t always go hand-in hand.
Q. Who is a better cook? Pascal or you?
We both have such a different set of skills and that’s what makes us work so well in the kitchen. We always check in with each other, on how our elements are tasting and regroup for a joint effort to plate a meal. We are both passionate to make sure the meal looks just as good as how it will taste. Our joke is that Pascal is my Sous chef, but he really is a hard worker, and I couldn’t have done this without him.
Q. Any tips for MKR aspirants?
JUST DO IT! I enjoyed every moment of the competition, you get to travel, dine out, cook for celebrities, and make a bunch of new friends. Sounds like a dream really!
Watch team Vikki and Pascal in their Instant Restaurant, Episode 5 on Monday, November 13. MKR NZ | Mon & Tues at 7.30pm on TVNZ 2 & TVNZ+