Celebrity News

Simon and Katrina Gault: living the dream

Celebrity chef Simon Gault and his wife Katrina reveal plans for their amazing new home.

As Katrina Gault gives her husband Simon a quick haircut in the small “shed” on the grounds of their Papakura lifestyle block, the pair can clearly see from their window the builders putting together their dream family home.

“Simon doesn’t get a haircut that often – it’s quite hard to pin him down,” laughs professional hairdresser Katrina (37), who works full time at upmarket Auckland salon Bettjemens. “Between Simon’s TV and restaurant commitments, my job and the new house, the past year has been pretty crazy, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to relax a bit more now.”

And if all goes according to plan, much of that time will be spent in the three-bedroom, three-bathroom house, complete with a state-of-the-art kitchen, taking shape on what is currently their front lawn – possibly even with a little baby to complete the perfect picture.

“This house is our dream. It’s an awesome place to bring up kids too,” says Simon (48), who this week appears for the third year as the firm-but-fair judge on TVNZ’s MasterChef. “I grew up in Papakura and I always wanted my own place here, but after searching for a house for two and a half years, I couldn’t find anything I could afford or that really turned me on.

Then I found this land, which had just a shed on it, and I figured I could turn it into an apartment. Basically, I had the best piece of land in the street, but I couldn’t afford to put a house on it! That was nearly 10 years ago and now it’s finally happening.”

The remote location is a far cry from Katrina’s upbringing in central Auckland, but the slim blonde knew what she was letting herself in for when she married Simon in 2010. “We’ve known each other for 12 years and, although I didn’t really know what our lifestyle would be like, we’re very much on the same wavelength. It just works,” says Katrina.

Simon and Katrina are both independent. “I couldn’t have married anyone that wasn’t – I’m away too much and I’d hate someone who needed me there the whole time,” says Simon.

But both love the rural lifestyle. “Simon loves it out here. He’s been

gorgeous and sweet and while his main thing is the kitchen, he’s letting me do the rest of the house, like colour schemes and fixtures. He does challenge me though – I’ll pick a tile, and he’s like, ‘Are you sure? Should you just think about it?’ and I start having doubts!”

While Katrina has plans for an artist to come in and paint the walls of the expansive entrance area in a “bold and brave” colour palate, the kitchen is Simon’s domain.

“It’s one of the major features of the house – the bit people will want to check out,” he explains. “For me it’s all about having fantastic gear, so I’ve gone really high end.”

For this celebrity chef, high end means a state-of-the-art kitchen which includes a professional sous vide oven, commercial vacuum packer, in-built steamer and a blast chiller freezer. “It’s quite unusual for a home,” admits the self-proclaimed gadget fan. “But I love playing with food and finding a new take on popular ingredients. Opening up people’s minds to new ways of serving foods – that really does it for me.”

The pair, who are both passionate about food, say there have been few arguments about building their house. “I’m lucky with Katrina. Before she came along, I was married to the kitchen. But getting married completely changed my perspective,” Simon says.

And luckily, in Katrina, Simon has a willing taster for his kitchen experiments. “Whenever I try anything new, I always look at Katrina first to see if she likes it,” says Simon. “If she doesn’t like something, I worry. I don’t like it when that happens!” But he needn’t worry, as his petite wife has a healthy appetite for his creations.

“Katrina eats more than I do. It’s so unfair!” bemoans Simon, who claims that while he is on a current mission to lose weight – “it’s incredibly hard, especially during MasterChef” – Katrina maintains her size-eight figure with twice-weekly visits to the gym.

“Our lives revolve around food. We spent New Year’s in Hawaii and we had our restaurant itinerary worked out before we even left New Zealand,” admits Katrina. “Everything revolves around our stomachs!”

But as the pair watch their dream home emerge, the foodies muse on their next step, which they hope will include children. “We’re designing the house as a family home,” says Katrina. “We do want kids at some point,” adds Simon.

But for now, the pair is just happy to be in each other’s company. “Our favourite thing is to sit outside, have dinner and talk,” says Simon. Agrees Katrina, “Things have been pretty busy of late. Right now, it’s just about us being together.”

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