The West

Baby steps in work and life
Amy Shields. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

She has conquered the MasterChef Australia kitchen, finishing seventh in this year's competition, and now Amy Shields' next mission is to start a family.

Before going on the show, the Perth cook was facing a challenging phase in her life after she was made redundant from her job and discovered her first cycle of IVF had failed, nine years after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Then MasterChef came along like a breath of fresh air for the 37-year-old and, despite being eliminated just shy of the finals last night, Shields told Access All Areas the Ten series had completely transformed both her and husband Craig's lives.

"I tell you what, I have had some extreme highs and lows but it came at the perfect time in our lives," she explained.

"I know it was tough on Craig to be apart from me for so long but the lead-up to the competition was a challenging time.

"We did get into a bit of a rut. We became sort of slaves to the whole IVF process and our jobs, and MasterChef changed that all for us."

Craig added he had no doubt his wife of 3 1/2 years would make it so far in the reality contest.

"I am incredibly proud of her, I am always incredibly proud of her though," he beamed.

The Joondanna couple have now turned their focus back to having a baby with a renewed sense of excitement. Shields said it was their "top priority" to welcome a new addition to the family.

"If someone said we could only pick one thing to focus on and we had to give everything else up, it would be that," the redhead said.

But in the meantime, Shields is also set to further the experience she gained on MasterChef by helping other home cooks perfect their culinary techniques.

"I am launching Miss Flames, which is based on the nickname I was given on the show," she said.

"My main focus initially will be teaching small groups of people to cook in their own homes in an interactive dinner party-type scenario.

"Then once I have secured a venue I will do cooking classes, some small-scale boutique catering and eventually, when I have built up some more experience, pop-up restaurants in different themes."

Even sooner, the foodie hopes to embark on a road trip around Australia, documenting the journey through a web series on her site, which launches this weekend.

It's all playing out like a dream come true for the South African-born kitchen wiz, who couldn't ever have imagined this was how her life would take shape.

"I probably would never have had the courage to pursue something like Miss Flames without MasterChef," Shields said. "I probably would have just stayed doing what I was doing, safe and secure, and not be brave enough to be more adventurous. It's really exciting."

The West Australian

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