Alison Cole, 29, graduated in physics from Imperial College London before becoming a chef. She has worked at some of the country's top venues and is now a full-time mother, writes Alison Goddard.
She said: "I had always wanted to be a chef but, being quite academic, I did physics.
"I got a third-class degree and applied for a few jobs and I didn't get them. I had been sponsored throughout my degree and I knew that my degree was almost entirely irrelevant to the computing work my sponsors had been asking me to do.
"I went to an agency and they asked what I could do. I told them I had a physics degree and they said 'No, dear, what can you do?'
"I had a food hygiene certificate from when I worked in Sainsbury's; they put me into catering firms and I thought 'This is what I want to do.'
"Catering is not something you want to do for the money. It did upset me that people who went into engineering are earning lots of money. But I earned enough to get by and to live the lifestyle I wanted to live."