SHE dabbled in advertising, journalism and even VAT consultancy before meeting, on a catwalk, Clarissa Dickson Wright who encouraged her to follow her passion for food - and the rest, as they say, is history!
Thomasina Miers, whose mother taught her to make bechamel sauce when she was six, went on to lift the Masterchef trophy in 2005 and since then her culinary career has gone from strength to strength, with numerous TV programmes, regular national newspaper columns and seven cookery books to her name. That's not to mention her now 25-strong Mexican restaurant group, Wahaca which she launched with her business partner Mark in 2007. Yet with three children of her own, Tommi, as she's affectionately known, still finds time to support her local primary school and grow her own vegetables.
Next month, Thomasina will follow in the footsteps of fellow culinary luminaries Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing and Michel Roux OBE in presenting the trophies at the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards' end-of-year celebration and says she's thrilled to be heading to the county: "I think it's incredibly important to shine the spotlight on the important and brilliant work that's happening in the food and drink sector and you've only got to look at what this competition has achieved over the last nine years to know Northamptonshire is doing an amazing job.
"I know from experience what winning a title means and, while I clearly have some very big shoes to fill, I feel honoured to be on the other side, presenting the awards this time - and I can't wait!"
Meanwhile, multiple award-winning craft gin distillers and creators of the original rhubarb gin, Warner Edwards, has joined the line-up of prestigious awards supporters by becoming category sponsor of the Farming Innovation Award. Founder Tom Warner and his wife, Tina, set up the distillery to diversify his own family cattle farm almost six years ago, and every bottle of gin is lovingly crafted with natural ingredients which are farm grown or locally sourced wherever possible.
"Having launched the business in December 2012, we were blessed to win one of these local awards less than a year later and, while we've taken many more international titles since, it's one that makes us the most proud because it was the seal of approval from our home county and really set us on our way," explained Tom.
"Hard work, a great product and a great team has seen us grow in the intervening years and now that the awards are celebrating their tenth year, it seemed the perfect excuse to be able to give something back to a competition which has done so much to support businesses like ours in the county to flourish."
Among those waiting to discover if they will be receiving their winner's trophy from Thomasina are the quartet of finalists in the One To Watch category (sponsored by Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers), which is aimed at those producers whose businesses are less than five years old and is designed to recognise their potential for major growth, their future significant impact on the market and thereby raising the profile of Northamptonshire at a regional or national level.
They are (in alphabetical order): Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer; Hustle Gin, Horton; The Shimmy Shimmy Co, Culworth and Tea Lab Company, Northampton.
The category was introduced for the first time last year and for Awards Director Rachel Mallows MBE DL, it represents the perfect synergy with both their new sponsor and their celebrity dinner guest: "We're thrilled that Warner Edwards is showing their support for us in this way, not least because we're so proud to have played albeit a small part in their success and we know that businesses who enter this category are inspired by the likes of their success.
"And having Thomasina with us on our special night, whom you might say found greater culinary glory by winning a TV show, is a massive thrill because she's proof that a bit of public recognition, which these awards can bring, can be a huge boost to blossoming talent."
For details of the finalists in all of the categories which have already been determined, visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or call Rachel on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow the competition on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards
The Awards Dinner is taking place at Northampton's Royal & Derngate on Wednesday 7 November. Tickets priced at £105 (plus VAT) or £1,155 (plus VAT) for a table of 12 are again available by visiting the awards website - www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk
Meanwhile, for more details about Thomasina Miers, visit www.thomasinamiers.com while for further information about Warner Edwards and its six-strong range of award-winning gins, go to www.warneredwards.com