Mary Anne Mackle’s talent for cooking was obvious from a young age, but when she finished school, the last thing that she wanted to do was indulge in a food-related profession.

“My mother wanted me to go to catering college but I wanted to go away and do something exciting. So I did a business degree and went to Liverpool.

When I was a student I wasn’t cooking very much, it was only when I left university and travelled that I started again. When I came back home I wondered what I would do. I was reading a magazine one day, came across an ad for Ballymaloe Cookery School and I thought, ‘That’s it’,” explains the Armagh native, who now resides in Moy, Co Tyrone.