I'm currently working on my second series of Masterchef and I started as a runner for the Home Economics Team (who basically sort out all the food, all the recipes and all the cooking equipment involved in the show). Now I'm a runner/researcher for the Contestant Team, which involves making sure all the contestants are in the right place at the right time and wearing the right clothes. It sounds pretty easy, but when you've got 30-odd people cooking at once whilst ten contestants want to start serving plates of food it all becomes a bit of a blur! The filming days tend to be the mad ones, but on days when we're not filming there's still lots to do, like arranging equipment for contestants to borrow and updating recipes and any other information that's useful for the edit.
The way I ended up on Masterchef was all rather random! I'd worked on this program for Sky for just one day and then a month later I was called up about working on Masterchef by this woman I had worked with. That tends to be how you go from job to job in this industry. Everyone works on a freelance basis, going from contract to contract and you end up being connected to a lot of different people who've all worked in the same circles. I've worked on quite a few food shows like Ramsay’s Best Restaurant and Great British Menu but I've also spent time working on a few factual entertainment shows like James May's Toy Stories, BBC Three's Working Girls and Channel 4's Kirstie's Home Made Home. So I think it's safe to say I've been pretty busy since graduating in 2010!
I think degrees are generally good for setting you up for your career, but with Media Production, you have to really put in the effort to get what you want out of it. The course at Sunderland was really great and taught me a great deal, but I think if I hadn't come out of it ready to get out there and do what I wanted to do then I wouldn't have found my feet as well as I have done. I got a lot out of my course and I'm still enjoying the benefits now, like having a National RTS award for the short film we made for our dissertation. In the long run, though, you need to recover from your three-year hangover and get focused on your goals and where you want to be or you'll end up giving up on what you've worked those three years for.
I used to do lots of radio work before coming to Uni such as Sun FM, as well as while I was there, but it didn't take long to be tempted by the dark side (TV & Film). I wouldn't say it directly helped me in the work that I'm doing now, because it's entirely different from the TV world. But it definitely built my personal skills and my understanding of the kind of people that work in the industry. So it wasn't a waste of time, that's for sure!"