Deli owner triumphs on The Taste
Deli owner Debbie Halls-Evans is savouring success after triumphing in Channel 4's The Taste, following a nail-biting finale of the cookery show.
The 43-year-old wowed the judges - who include Nigella Lawson - with her selection of bite-sized dishes made up of rabbit stew and mashed potato, scallop with pea puree and apple and fig crumble.
Contestants have had to convince judges of their culinary prowess throughout the series by presenting just a single spoon of each meal.
Halls-Evans, from Bolton, was tutored by French TV chef Ludo Lefebvre to beat fellow rivals Kelly Sealey, Dixie Innes and Chloe Campbell who made it to the final stage of the contest.
After hearing news of her triumph, the Lancashire lass, who has no formal kitchen training, said: "I am amazed. Ludo has taught me so many fundamental elements of cooking. He's astounded me. He's a creative genius. I can't thank him enough - he's done a sterling job with me."
Her mentor Lefebvre added: "To see her win is really amazing, she makes me very proud. She did it when it really mattered. One shot will win this thing. And she took the opportunity - thank God."
She impressed early on in the final after winning the first challenge set by guest chef Pierre Koffman, with her prawn toast champagne canape.
When it came down to the final two, Sealey - a p rofessional chef and cooking tutor - failed to hit the right notes with her Mexican-themed chicken mole , leaving Halls-Evans to take the trophy.
Lawson believed there was a clear winner, saying of the victor that she would "like to go to this person's house and eat".
The series was on its first UK run after becoming a US hit. Lawson - whose personal life came under the spotlight in court when her personal assistants were cleared of fraud - moved to Channel 4 after a number of cookery shows on BBC2.