Jane Devonshire stormed the final show on Friday night and took the MasterChef 2016 crown.
The mother of four impressed judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace with three course inspired by her childhood, beating fellow finalists Billy Wright and Jack Layer.
“For me as a personal achievement it’s definitely up there as the most amazing thing I’ve ever done,” she said on becoming MasterChef champion.
Jane revealed at the end of the show that she had been battling cancer for ten years, and had been in remission for three years before appearing on the show. She had chosen not to tell the judges of her story during the competition, but admitted afterwards that she “wanted to prove to myself how far I’d come”.
“There was a time when I thought I wouldn’t be here; it’s been incredibly tough, a really horrible time, a very scary time,” she explained. “You’ve got to get through these things, and with my children there’s no way I was going to give up. You have to try and survive and I’m one of the lucky ones.”
John Torode said, “Jane has more determination, more drive, more heart than I’ve ever seen in a MasterChef contestant in my whole career.”
Jane’s final menu included a fish starter of winkles and parsley on toast, served with pan-fried cockles and mussels, langoustine tempura, deep-fried caper berry and a saffron mayonnaise.
The main course was an Indian-inspired lamb Sunday roast, and the dessert a personal take on rhubarb and custard.
Jane said that before appearing on MasterChef she hadn’t considered a career in the food industry, but that now she was “open to all sorts of possibilities”.
Earlier in the competition she told Radio Times, “I’ve just turned 50, and the kids are older, so I’d like to go back to work for a few years. The reality is that at my age, starting a restaurant would be hard. It’s a young person’s game. But there are lots of other options and I’d love to do something in the food world.”
Applications are now open for the next series of MasterChef, and winner Jane is already looking to the future too.
“For me this means the end of a very, very difficult time and an amazing start to something new; I cant wait to see what it’s is going to bring me,” she said.