Tyne & Wear

Masterchef 'launched Sunderland cake maker's career'

Stacie Stewart on Masterchef
Image caption At each stage Stacie was surprised to get through to the next round

A baker and cake maker from Sunderland credits the BBC's Masterchef with launching her career.

Stacie Stewart made it to the semi-finals of last year's series and says her business is now "flourishing".

She said: "The encouragement John and Gregg [the presenters] gave me through the competition was fantastic.

"When I ended the competition I thought I can change my life if I want to and everything's there for the taking."

As the current season of Masterchef reached its finale, presenter and judge, Gregg Wallace admitted it was disappointing when those with potential are knocked out of the competition.

He said: "You can't help but start to fall in love with them because we've worked together with them for so long."

Co-presenter John Torode said: "As every year comes around there are people out there who say to themselves: 'Right, this is it, I can actually do it'.

"If you win Masterchef it does change your life. You go on to do something quite incredible."

Ms Stewart, 29, now has her own business which offers catering at private parties, a cookery school and supplies local cafes with cakes and puddings.

She also appears on television and is writing a cookery book.

Ms Stewart said: "At first people were coming to me because I'd been on Masterchef and they'd seen me on the telly.

"But I think now, I mean I've been going over a year, so I think I'm trading now on my reputation."

Although she thrives on pressure and soon forgot about the cameras, Ms Stewart fell at a familiar Masterchef hurdle - trying something a little too clever.

She admitted: "I messed my dessert up, which is ironic considering now I'm a dessert maker.

"I did a dessert with a load of different techniques in and everything just went wrong.

"Everybody else's dishes were spot on, I messed up, I went home, it was fair enough."

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