Away from the television cameras, Masterchef judge Simon Gault is an entrepreneurial chef whose name is associated with a string of top New Zealand restaurants.
Gault has created some of New Zealand's most innovative food offerings, and his numerous awards attest to his superb skill. As executive chef at Euro - one of the culinary stars on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour waterfront strip - Gault saw his establishment included in prestigious US CondÃ© Nast Traveler magazine's list of top 50 restaurants in the world.
Kevin Roberts - Saatchi and Saatchi international chief executive - once famously said that his favourite recipe was "Simon Gault's telephone number".
Gault's career has taken him around the world - working in top restaurants, and as a high-flying personal chef - and back again as an internationally respected chef.
These days, he's a Kiwi celebrity chef and a household name thanks to his TV appearances on Masterchef New Zealand. He's also one of Auckland's First XV - a group of 15 prominent Aucklanders chosen as ambassadors for their city during Rugby World Cup 2011.
Simon Gault trained in New Zealand, and served his apprenticeship under chef Tony Astle at Antoine's in Parnell - one of Auckland's long-standing blue ribbon restaurants.
Antoine's was the first of many top restaurants in New Zealand and overseas where Gault has honed his culinary skills. By the time he was 19, Gault was ready to extend his horizons so he headed off to London, where he landed a job with Prue Leith of Leith's Restaurant (and cooking school fame) in London.
He also worked at Thornbury Castle - a prestigious Michelin-star restaurant in the Cotswolds - under executive chef Kenneth Bell.
Back in New Zealand, and still only 22, Gault opened his first restaurant - The Bell House kitchen - in partnership with his parents. Next came, Gault's on Quay at Auckland's Viaduct, and a succession of culinary awards including 'Restaurant of the Year'.
When Europe beckoned again, Gault sold up and accepted the role of personal chef to Simon Fuller, the entrepreneur responsible for the incredible success of the Spice Girls and creator of the 'Idol' television franchise.
During the following year in Europe, Gault catered for the needs of the Fuller group and their visiting entertainment celebrities. His work took him into the homes of famous Italians and, especially, into their kitchens where he shared his passion for food with family cooks and famous chefs.
On his return to New Zealand, Simon Gault founded Euro Restaurant - once again located in the America's Cup Viaduct Basin. In less than two years he had guided Euro into CondÃ© Nast Traveler magazine's top 50 restaurants list.
From Euro, Gault once again moved off-shore - this time as personal chef to US software billionaire Larry Ellison of the Oracle Corporation. He spent two years working aboard Ellison's mega yacht - travelling the Pacific - and in his home.
Since then Gault's seemingly endless energy and talents have been channeled into a series of New Zealand projects.
He is executive chef to the Nourish Group which includes day-to-day running of Euro Restaurant and Jervois Steak House (Auckland); Bistro Lago (Taupo); and Shed 5 and Pravda restaurants (Wellington). His leisure time passion is flying, and he is a glider pilot instructor and pilot of vintage military aircraft.