Masterchef finalist's nursing return to support the Covid-19 effort

ITU nurse Sara Danesin at the Royal Free

ITU nurse Sara Danesin at the Royal Free - Credit: Royal Free

A nurse who left her career after becoming a MasterChef finalist returned to join the battle against coronavirus at the Royal Free.

Cooking the Italian recipes she knew and loved, Sara Danesin progressed through the auditions in 2011.

Following the competition, the Belsize Park resident became involved in recipe development, setting up a supper club in her home where she welcomed more than 12,000 guests.  

She also taught in a cookery school and got to go back to the MasterChef set a few times as a judge. But at the beginning of 2019 Sara made the decision to return to medicine.  

She attended London City University and her supervised placement was at the Royal Free Hospital on an elderly care ward.

Sara as a Masterchef finalist in 2011

Sara as a Masterchef finalist in 2011 - Credit: Royal Free

When the first wave of Covid-19 hit Sara offered to go back to the intensive therapy unit (ITU) – in a supportive role. 

“I made the decision to return to nursing long before Covid came along," she said. "I’ve since made the decision that being back in ITU is where I belong so I’m continuing my re-training. 

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"Of course things have changed a bit since I quit the profession but not that much and it does come back.  

“I did the second surge as a staff nurse here and I hope to be able to continue to progress up the ranks after my eight-year career break.”

Sara and her husband David

Sara and her husband David - Credit: Royal Free

The regular sweet treats she brings in for colleagues have earned Sara the nickname “The Amaretti Girl”. 

“Dealing with Covid really emotionally affected all my colleagues and having a 15-minute break and being able to look after each other is so important," she said.  

“My husband David cooked for me when I was working during the first and second surge and having that support was vital for me as it is so intense and I just forget to eat if I’m too tired and stressed.”

Sara is still involved in cookery projects and holds free online classes for customers of The Cookaway, a boxed meal business.  

She is seeking to help disadvantaged children and to get parents to embrace healthy eating.    

“I’ve been inspired by Marcus Rashford, I want to leave a legacy, I want to put something back from what I’ve learned from my time in the NHS and as a cook,” Sara said.

Sara at one of her supper clubs

Sara at one of her supper clubs - Credit: Royal Free