My two great passions, food and TV

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“Growing up in the 1980s with a mother who was an exceptional cook and a father who relished eating out, my brothers and I fell in love with good food – little did I know that this would help give me an edge when I landed in TV.
My career today combines two of my great passions – top quality cooking with TV production. I’m Series Editor of BBC TWO’s prime time hit Great British Menu, and over the years I have produced the Bafta winning MasterChef the Professionals, the original Junior MasterChef, both Celebrity and amateur MasterChef, and established many new food formats from Channel 4’s RTS nominated Beat the Chef to BBC One’s Britain’s Best Home Cook.

Working my way up the TV ladder was at times challenging with its long hours and contract-based work – it was a case of perseverance, hard work, and finding mentors who supported me. Fortunately, women populate the TV industry at a high level and there is a tradition of training up and developing teams to keep flagship shows going. Any opportunity that comes your way must be approached like it’s your last and made to count if you want to stand out. For me, the turning point in my career choice was realising that I’d found like-minded people, a creative outlet, and it wasn’t a chore – it was fun!

After cutting my teeth in documentaries with dynamo Exec Kathy O’Neill at ZKK who was renowned for encouraging women into the industry, my major break-through came when I could combine my passion for cookery and producing TV on the second series of MasterChef in 2006. Working with Execs and mentors Karen Ross and David Ambler, I stayed for 7 years (whilst having two daughters) and would produce all their flagship shows to great success. Here I developed my skillset, learnt to lead a team, trust my instincts, and left to produce new cookery formats, develop old favourites, and forge creative links with new and established chef talents.

As long as food programming and cookery competitions continue to interest TV audiences, there are huge opportunities for women in the food industry – from chefs to food suppliers, home economists to home cooks, and anyone looking to work their way up the TV ladder to production: the world is literally your oyster. ”

(Antonia, Oxford)

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