"I want to find something unique; I'm hoping for something traditional with a twist."
Food Glorious Food's baking expert knows what she wants from the show's winner and Stacie, who opened The Beehive Bakery in Sunderland after reaching Masterchef's semi finals in 2010, has boldly remarked that she won't be happy if a cupcake baker is crowned champ.
"Cupcakes are over," says Stacie. "Everyone makes them. In our first week of the competition I had at least six sets of cupcakes to taste. There's no way a cupcake will win a prize like this. 50 million cupcakes are sold every year. You can buy them in a corner shop. As far as I'm concerned, cupcakes won't win this competition and I'm not going to embarrass myself in front of the other judges by putting them through."
Instead, Stacie is looking for someone who's tweaked a recipe to deliver the perfect dish – and she's one hard woman to impress. She says: "I want to find something unique but what I'm really hoping for is something traditional with a twist. I want something original yet amazing. I've just tasted a ginger cake – which you can get anywhere – but this one had a crumble topping and a compote to compliment it. The man who baked it had thought about the flavours: he knew it was going to be fiery and it needed something moist to balance it. That's what cooking is about, balancing things. Why would you bring a normal ginger cake, when you could bring one with a something extra?"
For Stacie, a family connection will also win points: "I like to see people cooking recipes that have been handed down through generations because that's how I learnt to cook."
Stacie's grandmother is responsible for her passion for baking, and cooking stems from her childhood: "My mum can’t boil an egg so my nana taught me how to cook. Every Saturday without fail our mams went to bingo, our dads went to the pub, our grandad sat in the front room and watched the horse racing and my nine cousins and I were in the kitchen with our nana. It's a great memory and, now, all my cousins cook as well as I do."
Though she likes a family tradition, Stacie won't be impressed unless a competitor has put their own spin on a dish. Stacie says: "I also like to see innovation: taking something you've been taught how to do and making it better. Just because something was done one way many years ago, it doesn't mean it has to be done that way now. If that were the case, we’d still be walking around like cavemen. There has to be progression. My nana used to make scones with lard and water, because that's all she could afford. It doesn't mean they were the best scones in the world."
Following her stint on Masterchef, Stacie started her own business and she hopes whoever is victorious on Food Glorious Food will be able to follow their ambitions too. She says: "I hope whoever wins will let this change their life. I'd like to think anyone serious enough about cooking to enter Food Glorious Food is prepared to change career like I did. I was a PA before Masterchef. I loved being a PA and I thought that was my career, then I entered Masterchef and everything changed. It took me 26 years to realise my dream and now I want to help other people."
Straight talking Stacie doesn’t believe in not being honest with contestants and wants to help them to improve. She says: "I try to give constructive criticism – you have to tell someone if what they're doing is wrong. No one sugarcoated it for me: I got kicked off Masterchef and it didn't make me run away and cry."