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Monday: All the best with Paula McIntyre

By Kerry McKittrick

The 47-year-old food writer and broadcaster has worked in several prestigious restaurants around the UK. She is one of the regular stars of BBC Radio Ulster's Saturday Magazine show and lives in Portstewart.

My best moment

It was the day I got offered a scholarship to study in Rhode Island in the USA. It was the day I had just come back from an interview where Prue Leith had offered me a job to work in her restaurant in Kensington. The job would wait for the three months that I was in America for.

My best song

Anything by James Taylor but I'll choose My Travelling Star. I like lots of styles of music but Taylor has been with me since I was about 14. I try and see him as much as I can when he's over performing.

My best way to relax

Going to new restaurants. I love being handed the menu with a glass of something sparkling. Northern Ireland has had some wonderful restaurants in the last few years and it's a wonderful time for food here.

My best job

It's actually what I'm doing now because I do so many things. I cook a couple of days a week and develop recipes for a number of different companies. I do the Saturday Magazine on Radio Ulster each week with John Toal and then I spend a couple of days teaching. I've been doing that for a couple of years and I have the best of all worlds – every week is different and I love the variety.

My best piece of advice

My mother and granny both told me, no matter what you do in life, always have your own bank account.

My best gift

I was brought up in Aghadowey, which was seven miles from Coleraine in the middle of nowhere and with only one bus a day. When I was 17 my granny gave me her little Mini and I passed my driving test soon after. That feeling of driving on your own gave me such a rush and a sense of independence.

My best achievements

The cookbook is the one thing I'm most proud of. I wrote every word myself, tested all the recipes and styled the food photography and it sold 10,000 copies. I loved every second of doing it.

My best buy

I recently bought a new cooker and decided to treat myself. It has eight gas rings, two ovens, a proving oven and a slow cooker. I just love it.

Best movie

It's corny, but I love Steel Magnolias. It strikes a chord because it's all about strong, sassy women and I come from a long line of stubborn, opinionated women. I can really relate!

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