Amber Vito | The Rugby Pantry

Life after
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If I can be that personal cheerleader in your life that whispers: “you really can do this” while the rest of the world is provoking doubt… then I’ll consider my job done.

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NAME Amber Vito

AKA Victor Vito’s Other Half

TIMES AROUND THE SUN 29

KIDDIES 2 

FROM Nelson, New Zealand

LIVE La Rochelle, France 

ALL ABOUT BEING Caring, friendly, sensitive, curious, evolving 

STUDIED Communications and media 

FILL US IN Daisy Dagg and I met in 2010 when our partners debuted for the All Blacks. 

We became fast friends and spent a month travelling across Europe together in 2012. All the amazing cuisine we sampled inspired our personal food journeys back home, so we decided to start a Facebook page to share recipes with our family and friends. 

It all happened organically from there! 

GIVE US THE LOW DOWN ON THE RUGBY PANTRY Our food philosophy has always been that you don’t have to be an expert in the kitchen to cook delicious healthy meals. 

We like to use every day, fresh ingredients that are easily accessible and inexpensive. Food is a sharing, family experience and anyone can learn to cook if they’re interested.  

TWO PEAS IN A POD Working with a mate is a dream come true really! We both share the same food philosophies, we bounce ideas easily off one another, and have a great time doing it. 

We are both pretty chilled and are good at making things work for one another. 

HIGHLIGHT OF WORKING WITH YOUR BFF We had a wonderful time shooting our first cookbook and were able to share all the highs/lows together. 

Because we both have the same challenges (hubbys away playing for long periods for example) we can support and encourage each other with real understanding and compassion.

CHALLENGES WORKING TOGETHER Living in different cities made for some scheduling conflicts, but we just had to become efficient at managing our time and maximizing all the moments we had together. 

FROM BLOG TO BOOK TELL US MORE We were approached by a small publisher in NZ who liked our blog and thought it had the potential for a book. 

We had many meetings planning what it would look and feel like, and it all took off from there. 

It’s available online at Amazon and the children’s recipe book ‘Kai for Kids’ is an E-book, that can be purchased through our blog or Facebook page. 

MOST LOVED MEAL Daisy’s Teriyaki Chicken is super popular! Great pre-match meal and Izzy’s favourite for years. The carrot cupcakes are also a winner! 

PASSION OR HOBBY It’s definitely both! I’m a girl that just loves to eat and try new cuisines and dishes. I used to find cooking a chore, but as my passion grew and my life became busier,  it’s now like a form of stress relief. 

I really enjoy my 30 minutes in the kitchen each evening preparing a family meal. 

CULINARY BACKGROUND I was very lucky as both my parents are incredible cooks. 

They traveled extensively around the Middle East and Africa when they were young, so I grew up eating a vast array of cultural dishes. 

They also ran an artisan and then gluten free bakery, that was in the back paddock of our country farm. 

I finally learnt to cook in my early 20s, after a year of eating microwave pizza in my uni flat. 

I cooked my way through an entire Jamie Oliver book and that really ignited my passion for good easy food. 

IDEA-DREAM-REALITY To quote Nike – just do it! It’s super easy to have excuses not to begin; I’m too busy, I’m not ready, I’m not good enough. 

But those first steps are always the hardest. Set a few small goals and just start chipping away. It’s amazing how things can grow organically if you’re truly passionate! 

GO IT ALONE OR JOIN FORCES Having a supportive partner in business is amazing for pushing you outside of your comfort zone. 

You can share the workload, support each other, and also enjoy the success that much more. I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. 

MAMA-LIFE BALANCE  For me, being a mother is the biggest blessing and I really don’t miss working 9-5 in an office environment.  

However, I need to keep my mind challenged and to have my own dreams and goals, and that’s where the rugby pantry has given me an amazing outlet. 

My identity and who I was before I became a mum is still there, it still needs feeding, and I’m still figuring out what makes me the happiest. 

It’s very easy as a busy mum and wife to forget yourself in the process, but it’s so important to find a healthy balance. 

FROM NZ TO FRANCE, WE NEED TO KNOW MORE It has most definitely had its challenges. 

We moved to France when I was 30 weeks pregnant. The surrounding stress of all that contributed to my second son arriving 6 weeks early due to pre-eclampsia. 

So learning the language and trying to settle in really did come second to the needs of a prem baby, and a toddler missing his kiwi family and life.  

Luckily my husband has been amazing and picked up French super fast. He also had an incredible first year of rugby in France, so that’s made many of the sacrifices worth it. 

FRENCH FOOD INSPIRATION I’ve definitely been inspired! From making fresh lemon curd, short crust pastry, slow cooked beef stews and so on. 

I also bought Julia Child’s French cookbook and plan to work my way through that, learning the basics of French cooking and all the beautiful sauces etc. 

RUGBY LIFE I’ve been lucky that Vic has spent all of his professional career in Wellington before we moved to France, so I was able to finish my degree and begin my working life without interruption. 

I spent 4 years in different professional environments before having kids, and that made me realize that I’d love to be self employed. 

I’ve also always hated the stigma attached to the WAG title. As an honors graduate and someone who has always had a job or earned my own money, I never wanted to be just the other half of a rugby player.

And while I’m incredibly grateful that I now have the opportunity to be a full-time stay-at-home Mum due to my husband’s job, I definitely plan on returning to the workforce or starting my own business when Vic’s rugby journey wraps up. 

MOM WORK-LIFE BALANCE It wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support of our families. 

When we did the cookbook for example, our mums took turns helping to look after 3 month old Karlos. I was also exclusively breastfeeding so was pumping milk, feeding and trying to find the balance. 

Vic’s also an incredible hands-on dad, and without his gentle pushing and sacrifices, there’s no way I would have had the time or courage to do something for me. 

FILL US IN ON THE RUGBY LIFE FOR YOU It’s an incredible roller coaster that offers so many opportunities. 

The chance to travel, explore, and see the world so early in life is such an eye opener and blessing. I feel like you grow up quite fast as a rugby player or player’s spouse largely due to the pressures, income, and experiences you go through at such a young age. 

I feel like its an unusual trajectory of life experiences, that need careful management to be sustainable in the long run and for life beyond rugby. 

RUGBY LIFE HIGHS Vic’s had a pretty incredible career that I’ve been so lucky to be a part of. 

We got together the year he first made the ABs. After that initial high, we went through the many challenges and public/media scrutiny of being in and out of the national team. 

He had to fight really hard to get back in and went on to be a part of the team that won two World Cups. 

My proudest moment would have to be however, his 100 match for our beloved Hurricanes, our very last game in NZ before our departure to France and fortuitously the 2016 Super Rugby final. 

Watching him and the boys win that game, the Hurricanes first ever Super Rugby title, was beyond emotional and special. I’ll treasure those memories always. 

RUGBY LIFE LOWS The media attention and public scrutiny at times. It’s part of being a rugby player however, so you just have to be careful of how much you’re willing to share and how you deal with falsities. 

The time apart from family and friends is also hard, but it teaches you to really treasure your true friendships and support at home. 

5 YEARS FROM NOW Maybe with 1-2 more children, still happily married, getting back into business life with hubby, as he makes the transition out of rugby. 

WHAT RESONATES WITH YOU I love this extract from Marianne Williamson’s book ‘A return to love’: 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

WHERE CAN OUR HYPE CREW FIND YOU  

Facebook: facebook.com/therugbypantry

Instagram: @ambervito

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