It's been a year since MasterChef contestant Chris Hale graced our screens with his outlandish food and banter.
And as the plates are getting heated again for a new series of the show, Mr Hale describes what life has been like since making it to the quarter-finals of the popular BBC cooking contest.
"I really enjoyed the challenge of being on the show.
"I love cooking and creating recipes so having a platform to showcase these on was phenomenal."
And Mr Hale's creations were well received with his Indian Sushi going viral online as well as his chocolate soil dessert proving popular amongst foodies nationwide.
The father-of-two said: "It was a whirlwind being on the show and one of the best experiences of my life.
"It's always hard being knocked out as you can't help but want to learn more, keep cooking and win.
"But the experience was so positive and it inspired me to do more with my cooking."
Mr Hale, 30, from Sandal in Wakefield, made the most of his TV fame and immersed himself into the catering world, working freelance as a chef across Europe.
Not one to rest on his laurels, the trained sports scientist and altitude trainer, also collaborated with fellow MasterChef contestants.
Mr Hale said: "A few of us from the show kept in touch, so I arranged for us to take over a few restaurants together, creating our own menu.
"And they helped to cater for my wedding last summer at Unity Works."
Business quickly boomed for the Yorkshire-based entrepreneur and he set up his company Pop Up North.
He said: "At Pop Up North we provide pop up restaurants, private dining, buffets and events catering all with a fine dining twist.
"I've also been invited to host cookery demos, private workshops and judge cooking contests.
"I've gone from being a self-taught home cook to now judging trained professional chefs, it's pretty amazing really.
"What an incredible year for my family and I.
"And this coming year is set to be even better and busier."
Mr Hale is also looking forward to blogging at mamamei.co.uk (his wife's family, food and health blog) about the new series which starts tonight.
He said: "It's daunting being a contestant on reality TV but with hard work and determination it can be a great way to showcase your skills to millions of people.
"Although I am glad this year to just relax and enjoy the show from the comfort of my own home with my family."
MasterChef is back tonight, BBC One, 8pm.
For more on Mr Hale and Pop Up North, go to: Pop-upnorth.co.uk
Follow him and his reactions on the new show live on twitter @AllHaleChris and Facebook.com/popupnorthfood
One of Chris Hale's DIY 'dinner at home' recipes:
Chickpea, tomato & spinach curry (serves 2)
1 onion - 2 garlic cloves, chopped
3cm/1¼ in piece ginger - 3 ripe tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin - 2 tsp ground coriander
1 head of broccoli - 400g can chickpeas, drained
200g spinach leaves - 1 lemon
1 tin chopped tomatoes - 100g rice
Put the onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in a food processor or blender and whizz to a purée.
Heat oil in a large pan. Add the spices, fry for a few secs and add purée. Bubble together for 2 mins, then add the chopped tomatoes and broccoli and cook for 4 mins. Stir in chickpeas and spinach, squeeze over lemon.
Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
A creative designer has won a string of awards for her Ribbon of Hearts business.
Emma Kitchen who set up her business three years ago, leaving her work in the finance sector, has won a #WOW 'Championing
Working Women' Award and was chosen by Jacqueline Gold CBE.
A #QueenOf 'Memories To Treasure' and also 'Order Of Fabulous' awarded by The Aqua Design Group in Stockport who founded The Royal Connection & award both Men & Women #KingOf/#QueenOf their chosen business.
Miss Kitchen also won a #Smartsocial award for the smart use of social media within business, awarded by @marketme experts in web and social media
More recently 'Business of the Week' from an Early Years Hour Nerworking Group.
The entrepreneur from Wakefield said that her business has gone from strength to strength.
Miss Kitchen said: "A friend inspired me to start a creative business as I loved designing and making things.
"I was getting so tired of the financial world and the changes ahead, I'd been there for 8 years, but over 12 years in the industry.
"So I had to make a big change in order to start enjoying life."
So Mum-of-one Miss Kitchen, 41, set about making gifts for friends and family.
She said: "When I received such great feedback for my work, I took the plunge and quit my job at the bank.
"I love hearts so I decided to focus on wooden heart gifts that I personalise myself to meet a client's desires." And the simple but beautiful designs have been proving popular with the rise of Shabby Chic trends and decor. Miss Kitchen said: "Business has boomed within a short period of time thanks to winning awards and customer's sharing their gifts on social media.
"I've made hearts with special quotes on, some with baby scan pictures, some of footprints, wedding photos, business logos and everything else in between."
The entrepreneur is in peak season with Mother's Day being just around the corner.
For more information or to purchase a custom-made heart, go to:
Contact Sophie Hale
EvokeMediaGroup.co.uk & mamamei.co.uk
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Notes to editor
Ribbon of Hearts bio:
Where it all began...
Ribbon of Hearts came from little thoughts that were written down and kept, together with flashes of inspiration and it was all brought to fruition. Working from home was a dream, to do something I enjoyed and to love what I do. My family was my main focus and to be able to spend more time with them especially on a weekend, this was a real pull. I have a friend who inspired me more than anything in the world to do this, she is someone who showed determination, courage and strength to live each day and to be positive in life.
Ribbon of Hearts was born.
Wakefield Mumbler is an online one-stop-shop for parents
A family focused business network has launched in the city to help SME's reach their target market.
Wakefield Mumbler is an online community which supports families by providing relevant local information for free. At its core Mumbler is about supporting local families and bringing together parents and carers from across the district in the hope of creating a sense of community for families in Wakefield and a safe place to discuss all things about family-life.
Founder of Wakefield Mumbler, Heather Sweeney said:
"I'm so excited to launch the Mumbler website and community in Wakefield.
"As a mum myself I know the daily challenges that parents face plus the added juggle of running a business.
"So I'm really passionate about making wakefield.mumbler.co.uk a place where families can easily access the local information they need and to find a welcoming platform where they are free to ask for recommendations for groups, services, advice for family problems, ideas for days out and everything else in between.
"In turn supporting the local economy and showcasing the best businesses in the city.
"I hope Mumbler will take the stress out of family life for others in Wakefield, as it did for me as a new mum in Harrogate."
The social media savvy mum-of-one who is from Barnsley also works part-time as a teacher as well as running her new Mumbler business, which is already proving popular.
She said: "I'm so pleased with how quickly Mumbler is growing.
"I'm getting lots of great feedback and I hope every parent in the city will join us no matter what your situation."
As part of Wakefield Mumbler Mrs Sweeney launched the business network group for businesses that are suited to a family market.
"I meet so many parents that have set up their own businesses or become franchisees in the hope of finding a way to balance family life with work. I created the business network to help support other parents like me."
For more information, visit: wakefield.mumbler.co.uk
For press enquiries:
Contact: Sophie Hale
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Factfile about Wakefield Mumbler:
- Wakefield MUMbler is owned and run by local mum Heather Sweeney.
- Heather was born in Barnsley and brought up in Knaresborough. As a new mum, living in Harrogate she used the Harrogate MUMbler site to survive her first year as a parent.
- Recently moving back to Wakefield to be closer to her family, she soon missed the MUMbler website, not knowing many people, finding it difficult to connect with other local parents and struggling to find great places to visit as a family.
- She realised that there was a real need for a MUMbler in Wakefield, so she started the process of buying into the MUMbler family and became a franchisee in August 2016.
- By September 2016 the Wakefield MUMbler News Page and Chat Group on Facebook were lauched to help connect with local parents and carers. - - In October Heather also set up the Walefield MUMbler Business Network Group on Facebook to connect with other local parenting and child related businesses.
- The website launched in December 2016, following months of research and content creation.
More about Heather Sweeney of Wakefield Mumbler:
Heather is also a part-time teacher, so when she isn’t marking and planning she spends much of her free time glued to her iPhone, shamelessly overusing social media and desperately trying to be a good mum too! Running the mumbler site does lead to some exciting family adventures, which make up for the time spent in the office. Heather, her husband and their mini Mumbler can often be seen handing out flyers sporting a purple Wakefield MUMbler hoodie. "I couldn't do this without the support of my husband when he isn’t working in Harrogate, keeping on top of the housework and being an awesome dad he's helping me with Mumbler- we're a team!"
How Mumbler began:
Mumbler Ltd is owned by Harrogate mum of two Sally Haslewood, and has been her third ‘baby’ since launching the website in November 2012.
Familiar with the town, but unfamiliar with it’s parenting community Sally saw a gap in the market and Mumbler was born. Initially as a Facebook chat group in 2011 it’s popularity rapidly grew and saw the launch of the Harrogate Mumbler website in 2012, the first Mumbler Awards in 2013 and the first franchised site in Hull in 2014.
Mumbler is now available as the ultimate local parenting on-line community other locations including York, Leeds, Hull & East Riding, Doncaster, Ripon & Nidderdale, Stockport, and Stratford upon Avon, with several other sites due to launch in coming months.
Two female film-makers set up their own filming and promotions company after receiving international acclaim for their work.
Daria Nitsche, 34, and Sophie Mei Lan, 28, are best friends as well as co-owners of Evoke Media Group.
Evoke’s production guru Ms Nitsche, who is based in Sheffield but hails from Germany, trained In film and media and has since worked for the likes of NetFlix, Wrigley’s and large feature films.
Mrs Mei Lan, who is from Sheffield but based in Wakefield, focuses on researching, interviewing and PR, using her skills as a multi-award-winning journalist to create dynamic campaigns and corporate videos for their clients.
She said: “It made perfect sense for Daria and I to create a business together as we compliment one another’s skills.
“We’re really passionate about using films and technology to help promote our clients.
“We work with a large pool of people and many are surprised to see a woman behind the camera as well as in front. But we’re very proud of the fact that we offer top-quality packages and we just happen to be women in technology.”
The pair has recently added another string to their bow by offering a range of filming, blogging and PR workshops for people wanting to learn basic skills for themselves.
Ms Nitsche, who has an MA in film, said: “A lot of businesses want to produce content in house but they don’t have the basic skills to do so.
“So we provide training sessions for staff to get to grips with the basics of film-making and also blogging.”
Ms Nitsche and Mrs Mei Lan are particularly passionate about inspiring more females in to film-making and other technology based businesses.
Mrs Mei Lan said: “During my time working as a broadcast journalist at the BBC I discovered how important it was for me to be able to work a camera and editing software as well as being able to present and report.
“Before I met Daria, I was a one-woman-band which was great as it made me flexible. But it was so much easier working as a team utilising both our strengths.
“Not everyone takes us seriously at first but we like to surprise people with the professional work we produce.”
The future for Evoke
And it’s not all just corporate and social media videos, the multi-award-winning duo also deliver workshops for people and businesses who want to get to grips with filming, editing, content writing, PR and social media marketing.
Ms Nitsche said: “Our workshops are a great introduction to people wanting to make their own content.
“We do one-to-one training and group events so they’re ideal for a company of any size.”
Ms Nitche and Mrs Mei Lan are also known for their ground-breaking current affairs content.
They have won awards for their coverage of human trafficking scandals, NHS campaigns and their coverage of mental health issues.
Mrs Mei Lan said: “Our heart is in documentary-making (radio/TV/Film) showcasing issues we’re so passionate about and are in need of exposure.
“We hope to use some of the money we make from Evoke to fund equipment and time for us to break more barriers on issues that are important.”
For more information, go to: evokemedigroup.co.uk
Or follow them on twitter @EvokeMG and facebook.com/EvokeMediaGroup
Daria Nitsche fact-file
- Born in Munich, Germany
- Ms Nitsche now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire after studying for her MA there
- As well as editing films for the likes of NetFlix, she works on feature films, documentaries and commercials.
Sophie Mei Lan fact-file
- Born and Bred in Sheffield, South Yorkshire where she met Ms Nitsche
- She now lives in Wakefield with her chef husband and two kids
- Mrs Mei Lan is a trained journalist and has worked for the likes of BBC News, Channel 4 News, ITV News and The Observer and The Guardian
- She is also a professional Blogger, Bellydancer and Dance teacher (You can find her on MamaMei.co.uk and BellydanceBySophieMei.com)
- Launched in Sheffield and Manchester in 2011 (Originally as Verita Magazine)
- Funding from O2 Think Big, UnLTD and Go Think Big
- Awards won: Amnesty International Media Award, Hearing Unheard Voices Award (UK Youth) at St James’ Palace and NCTJ (National Council for Training of Journalists) Awards for excellence 2014 & 2015
- Shortlisted Awards: IRN Commercial Radio Award an Guardian Student Media Awards
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Sophie Mei Lan