Details for: Masterchef winner Jane Devonshire talks confidence, cooking, children and ambition with Katherine MacAlister pre this weekend's Foodies Festival

When stay-at-home mum Jane Devonshire won Masterchef this year she had no idea what a massive impact it would have on her life.

“It was like winning the jackpot. Surreal is the only word I can come up with," she explains.

Since then her existence has transformed beyond all recognition, and Jane is loving every minute of it. “This is my time without a doubt,” she says proudly. “But it’s like two different people whose lives don’t resemble each others” she laughs. “I’ve gone from being a stay-at-home mum to being very, very busy."

But then there has never been a Masterchef winner like her, the family cook’s food harking back to the days when Mrs Beeton. Mary Berry and Delia Smith reigned supreme.

So when Jane comes to The Foodies Festival in South parks this weekend she won’t be making anything fancy. Instead she plans to cook “a meatball dish, something family friendly,” which we will all be able to go home and replicate.

“Like all mums, I’m not going to spend three hours making a banquet for supper mid-week when we’ve got a kids music lesson and hockey practice to get to. It’s just not practical, so a lot of my recipes, like my new gluten free chicken pizza take five minutes to make and ten to cook, they are simple dishes with a twist. (Her son is gluten-intolerant so a lot of her creations follow suit).

It’s ironic then that after all Jane's recent success, she never expected to even got onto the TV series, let alone win it. “I entered for a joke really, a dare with my son. It was all happenstance. I knew I was a good cook but I never imagined in a million years that I would end up on the show, it was so far off my radar.

"But after I entered, they rang me and we had a long chat on the phone and then I took some food in to show them but I didn’t expect to it to go any further than that."

What followed was a four month adventure with constant filming and trips abroad, although winning was still something she hadn't even considered.

And what were Greg Wallace and and John Torode like? Jane says: “What you see is what you get; Greg wanders around telling appallingly bad jokes and Jon gives you loads of top tips, but they are both really nice."

Amazing then that Jane didn’t even study food technology at school, even though she comes from a family of foodies. “We talk so much about food when we get together it gets boring,” she laughs, "but learning to be a chef never even entered my mind. It’s only now that I’ve realised what I could achieve, that I can cook, and I can say that without sounding big-headed,” she laughs. “Maybe I wasn't ready until now.”

This is certainly her time: “Winning Masterchef has given me so much confidence. It was huge boost because although staying at home to bring up your kids is a huge privilege, you do begin to doubt yourself and your abilities, and what you can do if you go back to work. Masterchef has given me the confidence to get out there. I just hope my story inspires other mums because now I feel like I can do anything."

And yet she can’t have got this far without passion, commitment and dedication? “My cooking just evolved really. I just learned as I went along. Masterchef helped me become the chef I am today.

Now inundated with requests for her time and expertise Jane has been enjoying the choice on offer: “Every week something new comes along, but I like the presenting and the teaching. I’m quite good at it which is a surprise for someone who spent so long at home, away from the workplace and public eye. So I love the Foodies Festival shows. They are a real joy.

“My husband said to me ‘everything you get out of it now is a bonus and it’s up to you how far you take it and what you want to do.’

“"The only downside is my waistline. I don’t think that will ever be the same again,” she laughs before returning to finalise her chicken pizza.

So is there anything she can't cook? "My biggest problem is cooking small portions – dinner for two is a nightmare."

Foodies festival Oxford, South Parks: September 2, 3 & 4. Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 0844 995 1111