Viktoria Garbett is a newly qualified Culinary Coach who has recently left the corporate world to inspire people to cook and connect through food. She is specialised in delivering team building healthy cooking sessions. Viki is passionate about helping families with children to get in the kitchen to cook together and helps them to find ways to fit this in their daily routines. Viki also offers one-to-one nutrition coaching for individuals
Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am a newly qualified Culinary Medicine Coach and Cookery Teacher and I offer one-to-one health coaching and hands on cookery classes for individuals and corporate entities as team building experience.
I love helping mums with young families to find joy and fun in cooking for and with their children to have stress-free mealtimes with nourishing dishes. I know how hard it is to provide healthy homecooked meals for a busy family, especially if someone in the family has a health condition. I believe in personalised nutrition plans that can empower people to make more health-conscious decisions, by also inspiring them to cook from the heart and connect through food.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I was born in Hungary and moved to the UK in 2006 following my heart. I graduated as an economist in Budapest, specialised in international communications and PR. Not long after moving to the UK, I got a job at DLA Piper in Anti-Money Laundering Compliance (AML). I worked there for 15 years, most of it as the team leader then manager of the centralised international AML team. After having children, my priorities and interests have changed and having a picky eater sent me on a new journey. I have dived deep into cooking and healthy eating and made everything from scratch to make sure my daughter was well nourished. Cooking with her and involving her in every step of food prep from an early age helped broaden her palette and become more interested and started to enjoy mealtimes more. One day I bought a pasta machine, and we made pasta together, which she absolutely loved. She started telling her friends about it and invited them for a cook-along. I caught myself teaching pasta magic every other weekend and this is when the penny dropped – this could be a lovely little side hustle. I told one of my friends about this who asked me to run her daughter’s 17th birthday party. It was a great success and Twiddle was born. The word spread and my diary quickly got filled with private pasta parties.
A year or so later I developed some health issues and found that the doctors were keen to just medicate me to numb the symptoms. I didn’t want to be on pills for the rest of my life and decided that I would study nutrition and heal myself. I signed up to Dale Pinnock’s Culinary Medicine College and recently qualified as a Culinary Medicine Coach.
In March 2023, I left my corporate job to embark on a fully self-employed journey to make my business a full-time job and dedicate myself to helping others become healthier.
Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?
I started running my business as a side hustle in March 2019, not long before the pandemics hit. It was a passion project alongside my corporate job. I gradually built the business up and was able to leave my office job earlier this year. Now this is not just a passion business, but my full-time job and it means I have more structured systems in place, and I am a lot more careful about what I spend my time and energy on.
I have also put a business and marketing plan together and I am more proactive in my approach than before, driving the business to the space it is more aligned with my core values and vision.
Have you ever had a mentor? If so how has this benefitted you either personally or professionally?
I am super lucky to have a few mentors who I can turn to for advice. I love working in a team and being self-employed means, I must find those connections myself, network and brainstorm in different ways. The great thing about connecting with my mentors is that they help see my business and my uniqueness from an external point and always give me honest and constructive feedback that gives me a reality check. Being self-employed you are in a bubble and easy to get stuck in ways you are used to operating in. Having mentors with different skill set and background can be helpful, even better if they are not a version or a “mini you”. Just like working in a team, you are best to have a good mix of people, with mentors, you want to have the same, people who can inspire, motivate but also challenge you.
What outlets do use for marketing?
My business was built on word of mouth, I hardly ever used any marketing other than social media. However, since going full time with it, I am conscious that I need to spread the word myself too. I still believe that personal recommendations are the best as this builds trust and higher level of customer “buy in” and therefore my marketing will be always aligned with this ethos. I actively share on all platforms what I do and showcase my services and my existing clients are always happy to recommend me too.
I have recently started a newsletter to reach out to my existing customers and previouscustomers and excited to see where this takes me.
What or Who has inspired you most recently?
My brother. He has been through a very tricky period with his business, but he has turned it all around and stayed so resilient. Seeing him not giving up his dream is so inspiring. Following his vision that he so deeply believes in, despite all the adversity he had to come across and then create a business that is bigger and bolder is truly amazing.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
That you don’t need to fit into a box or have one single title to your name. You can be a multi-talented entrepreneur and embrace all of you. Staying authentic and finding joy in what you do is the most important as it will bring the right energy and will attract the clients who are aligned with you.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I haven’t figured out the perfect formula for this yet. I have tried many different time management techniques but due to the varied services I offer, I cannot use the same principal for every day. It really depends on what we have on as a family and the type of bookings/clients I have.
As a general rule, I do have a break at 3 pm to pick my daughters up from school and spend time together then. We cook together every Thursday but often other days too. I do have to work in the evening once they are in bed or when my husband takes over and does the bedtime routine. He helps whenever he can. He has a corporate job and less flexible than me, but in the evenings, he can take part more which gives me a bit of time to catch up.
Name a seminal point in your career so far?
When I decided to leave my corporate job and put my everything into my business. I decided that I loved myself enough to get out of a toxic environment that no longer served me, neither did it help me grow. After spending 15 years at a prestigious law firm, I let go of my ego and went after my dreams. It was such a cathartic experience that I will never forget, it felt like I was taking the deepest breath of my life and my chest expended with it.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Seeing people getting immersed in cooking, getting out of their heads into their hands, being in complete flow. Getting emails years after someone has attended one of my workshops sharing photos of their dishes, they have created still inspired by me. Seeing children’s happy faces when they learn from me realising, they can cook and bake.
Seeing my nutrition coaching clients reach their health goals, listening to their victories and how my advice helped them become healthier, more energised and fulfilled.
Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?
Ella Mills is one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs I have seen. I love how she created a business from a trauma and her health struggles and how she can juggle it all with her young family. Seeing her work with her husband is also super inspiring.
How do you define your own success?
Doing something I am so passionate about and with this making a positive difference to other people’s lives. Having the freedom to do this, the self-respect and self-love to allow myself the time and energy to give it a try.
Finally, what can we expect from you next?
I am focusing on incorporating my culinary medicine expertise into my cookery classes and bringing more of this to the corporate world as team building experiences. With my over 10 years of management experience at a global law firm, I have seen so many gaps in the corporate sector when it comes to looking after their employees. I want to facilitatemeaningful experiences to help team members bond and companies create a positive culture, using food and health coaching as tools.
The other area I am really drawn to is working with schools to inspire the younger generations to cook and teach them the foundations of nutrition and wellbeing.