A FORMER Wiltshire charity director has said she is "living the dream" after competing on a BBC show inspired her to launch a new career

Alex Talbot, 43, from Hindon, is currently on the 15th season of Masterchef, and has now left her job as a charity director at Julia's House due to the platform the show has given her.

Alex says she loves to combine classic British cooking with her Mediterranean heritage - her grandmother was from Portugal.

She says cooking "has always been a passion" for her, and that Masterchef "was an amazing opportunity".

She added: "It's a show I've watched for 15 years, and a show I've always been passionate about, so it was an amazing opportunity and I was really lucky to be accepted onto the show.

"It was much, much harder than I thought it was going to be.

"The level of talent on the show was absolutely unbelievable, but I loved every second of it"

The current series is still running, and Alex's quarter final was on BBC One last night.

Alex previously spent 20 years working for charities, most recently for Julia's House as development director, but has now started pursuing a career as a professional chef.

"After 20 years working for charities, I thought it was time for a change, and time to do something for myself," she said.

"I really wanted to re-invent myself, and this show has allowed me to do that."

Tonight's quarter-final sees the contestants take on the challenge of working in a professional kitchen, and it was Alex's first experience in a professional environment.

She said: "That was absolutely incredible.

"It was really exciting and vibrant.

"It was everything I'd ever imagined it would be, to be honest."

The show is already looking for contestants for next year's series, and Alex would encourage anyone thinking about applying to give it a go: "I would encourage anyone to apply for the show, but I would warn people to really think hard about it beforehand, because the standard is so high.

"But for me, it has been 100 per cent the best thing I've done."