North East call operator makes television debut

Written by on 8th March 2018

By day he answers the North East’s 999 and NHS111 calls; by night he’s cooking up a storm for family and friends.

Meet Anthony O’Shaughnessy, who is set to make his cooking debut on BBC One’s MasterChef tonight (Thursday 8th March).

Anthony has worked for the North East Ambulance Service’s Emergency Operations Centre in Hebburn for the last three years, but now hopes his cooking won’t be a kitchen emergency.

The 26-year-old from Gateshead, who is unable to divulge how far he goes in the cookery competition, says his job as a call operator helped him keep a level head during the stress of the challenges.

“They told me during filming that I seemed really calm but I explained that I’m used to this kind of pressure,” he said. “As a call operator, you need to keep a level head no matter what is happening on the other end of the phone.”

“Often people are ringing at one of the frightening times of their lives so it’s important to stay calm to help keep them calm and ensure I can arrange the help they need.”

Having reached the last 30 in last year’s Great British Bake Off, and applying for MasterChef, Anthony was approached by the casting director to see whether he wanted to audition for the show.

“I was obviously disappointed not to get on the Bake Off but I guess getting as far as I did gave me that bit of extra confidence to think ‘why not?’. “

“It was pretty intense during filming, but I really enjoyed the experience and can’t wait for everyone to see how I got on – not being able to tell anyone has definitely been the hardest thing about it. I had to tell my mum I was on the show because I live with her but I couldn’t even tell her the detail! It will be a nice surprise for everyone.”

Anthony loves to cook for family and friends and finds recipe inspiration from travelling.

“I like naughty food – food that you probably shouldn’t but you know you want to! Cakes and pies and deep-friend treats and saucy puddings. Let’s be honest, people feel fantastic when they eat food that they really want to eat. I like seeing people feel good like that and I like feeding people that way!”

“I’ve always been greedy, I love eating! I see cooking as a way of being able to create anything that I’d like to eat – it’s almost like a superpower.

“Cooking definitely helps me switch off after a busy shift. At home I usually just eat whatever I fancy that day but I do put a bit of thought into what I take to work, making sure you bring something you enjoy is a good reward on a long shift.

Tune in to MasterChef tonight at 8pm on BBC One.

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