A talented cook from Great Stukeley who made it all the way to the final of popular television series Masterchef has spoken of her ‘bizarre and inspiring’ experience on the show.

Giovanna Ryan, 30, was among the final three contestants on the programme, which aired on the BBC back in May, and saw aspiring cooks put through their paces in a series of daunting challenges.

Though she didn't win, the former Buckden Infants and Kimbolton School pupil said she "loved every minute" of her experience, which has seen her career in the food industry blossom.

She said: "It's tricky to know what to say about the MasterChef experience without completely underselling it or just gushing endlessly about it. I will say that it was the most inspiring, exhausting, bizarre, daunting experience that I'll probably ever have and I loved every minute of it.

"The show completely took over my life and I spent hours reading anything cooking-related that I could get my hands on, agonising over the exact consistency of a Swiss meringue and endlessly tying butchers knots around a rolling pin so I was sure that I could do it under pressure.

"Most of my clothes are now too small, I have a moderate to severe butter addiction, and I regularly have stress dreams about being back in the MasterChef kitchen. "However, what I got to experience and learn, the amazing chefs I had the privilege of working with, and most of all, the wonderful people I met along the way make all of that pale into insignificance. I made some incredible friends who share my love of food and cooking and that I hope will stay with me for a very long time."

With the contest now behind her, Giovanna has returned to work part-time as a singing teacher but is also working hard to further her passion for cooking by offering private catering, parties and supper clubs, as well as cookery classes and demonstrations.

This weekend (September 22 and 23) Giovanna will be running some Italian cookery classes at the Cambridge Cookery School. To find out more about what is planned, log on to www.cambridgecookery.com/cook/classes.