Nici Wickes Bio
It has always been Nici‟s dream to host a cooking show. She is a huge advocate for demystifying cooking and her main focus with the show and her cookbook is to encourage people to cook more and to give them the confidence so that they find it enjoyable!
Nici’s early years
Nici grew up in a family of 5 girls (she was the middle child). Cooking was a huge part of her upbringing, with regular brunch time cook offs where all the girls had a chance to show off their skills.
Nici‟s Mother and Nanna were her inspiration in the kitchen – Every Wednesday lunchtime, during her primary school years, Nici‟s Nanna would visit and the five girls would trek home at lunchtime, arriving to a full buffet of mouth-watering dishes. This has shaped her experiences and love of food and cooking.
Sport was also a big force in the Wickes household and Nici has always been keen to give anything a go – she regularly snowboards, surfs, mountain bikes and practises Yoga. Nici admits she does these activities more out of necessity than anything given that she is now a "professional eater"!
Nici the Presenter
Fifth season in and Nici can now claim on her airport forms "Presenter" as her job and not feel like a fraud. She‟s moved on from the catering company she set up in the 1990‟s to fully immerse herself in sharing her love of all things food-wise and cooking-wise through live cooking shows as well as through World Kitchen, the TV show. Last year she was invited to appear at some of Melbourne‟s annual food and culture festivals, alongside other celebrity chefs. She enjoyed herself so much and was such a hit they asked her back again this year. Upcoming shows in NZ include the Auckland Foodshow (July) and the Whitianga Scallop festival (August). Nici claims these opportunities to cook and interact with live audiences are both exhilarating and nerve-wracking – there‟s no take two if the dish collapses!
Her cooking school aimed at teenagers continues to grow. She established the school, „Cooking for Confidence‟ in 2007, to run in school holiday periods where teenagers can learn to cook amazing yet practical food. They learn that chickens don‟t come in pieces; that parsnips are not white carrots and that tasting something you don‟t like won‟t kill you!
Nici travels extensively, usually on a quest for food, new cooking tips and inspiration, regularly visiting restaurants, markets and cooking festivals.
Nici the Business Woman
Running her own business in her 20‟s and with a Psychology degree from Otago University, Nici became increasingly interested in what makes some businesses work and others not. To this end she embarked upon a 12 year stint as a business growth and leadership consultant for business owners. She‟s still in demand to run her leadership workshops in NZ and Australia and does so whenever she‟s free from filming and food writing – the only difference is, these days she incorporates an element of cooking into the curriculum. For example groups of attendees might be asked to whip up a pav to demonstrate their particular leadership style!
She remains a regular motivational speaker and one on one coach for business owners and managers throughout NZ and Australia.