Passionate foodie Vicki Waaka is no longer working 10-hour days in a tight kitchen, but instead is enjoying the comfort of her home and building up a bespoke catering business and running cooking classes.
A chef and caterer for four decades, she formerly ran Nosh Cafe at the Ashford Village with husband Rangi.
Vicki said she was forced to re-invent herself after a series of circumstances presented themselves earlier this year.
The lease on the cafe operation at Mill House was not renewed, her husband Rangi was diagnosed with cancer and Covid-19 hit.
A lot had happened in a short period of time and the main focus had been on looking after Rangi, she said.
Now, and with Rangi’s positive outlook, she was focusing on moving forward and putting her energy into Nosh Catering.
Nosh has always offered some catering options and has made up picnic baskets, but Vicki aims to expand that.
“My kitchen at home has been signed off by council and I’ve already given cooking classes to both children and adults, which have been well received.”
She had offered advice, tips and recipes to the different age groups and had shared her passion and knowledge in the kitchen.
Her workload was starting to get busy and Christmas functions and catering work were filling her diary.
“I do miss the customers I had at Nosh, but what I’m doing now is offering a much more personal service.
“I can discuss food requirements directly with people and cater to their exact needs.”
A new chapter in her career had started and she was excited to see where it went.
She said building a stand-alone kitchen in her Tinwald garden was a future option.
“I’ve worked hard to build up a good name in Ashburton over the years and it’s great to see people supporting me with the new direction I’m taking.”
Vicki said the Nosh name had been kept “because who knows what the future holds”, and the noshcafe.co.nz website had been updated to reflect what she now offered.
She intended starting a food blog and would continue to offer her services as a personal chef.
-By Mick Jensen