An East Lancashire rookie cook has taken part in a brand new BBC Three cooking competition hosted by Stacey Dooley and Big Zuu.

Serena Appleby, from Accrington, is one of 10 contestants to appear on BBC Three’s Hungry For It.

Serena said she is “proud” to put Accrington on the map and hopes the show can open some doors for her in her culinary career.

Lancashire Telegraph: Serena Appleby on BBC's Hungry For It. (Photo: BBC)Serena Appleby on BBC's Hungry For It. (Photo: BBC)

Hosted by Stacey Dooley and Big Zuu, Hungry For It sees ten rookie cooks set off on the ultimate crash course for how to make it in the food business.

The chefs will live in a house together, create amazing dishes and attempt to impress industry experts and judges.  

Mentored by BAFTA winner Big Zuu and Chef Kay Kay, a personal chef to stars like Drake, P Diddy, Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber, the cooks have a chance to skill up and put their talent to the test, with the chance to win a culinary trip of a life time and career making oppourtunites.

Lancashire Telegraph: Kayla Greer, Stacey Dooley, Big ZuuKayla Greer, Stacey Dooley, Big Zuu

Serena, 28, said she was scouted for the show by BBC producers who stumbled upon her Instagram page.

She said: “One of the casting producers sent me a message on Instagram and I thought it was a scam at first so ignored them for ages.

“When I gave her a chance and listened to her on the phone call I realised it was genuine.

“You only get opportunities like this every once in a while in your lifetime, so why not just take it as you don’t know what could come from it.”

She has been cooking since she was five years old and her first memory of cooking is making Koka noodles as a snack for her and her younger brothers.

Proud of both her Filipino and northern roots, Serena joined the show to highlight how good Filipino food can be.

She also wanted to represent her hometown and put it back on the map.

She said: “It’s sad to see that Accrington is not thriving as it should be.

"I want to put Accrington back on the map and I want to show a different side of it – big up the BB5!

“I want to show that you can come from Accrington and still do big things – it’s not a forgotten northern town, there are people here that want to do big things and are doing big things.”

The first episode of the show aired on BBC Three earlier this week, but already Serena has impressed the judges with her ‘levelled up’ party food of Filipino spring rolls.

She said: “Lumpia is the quintessential party food of Filipino culture. I made them and put my own twist on them.

“I loaded them with fresh and crispy toppings, pickled ginger and sauces”

Lancashire Telegraph: Serena's 'levelled up' Filipino spring rolls. (Photo: BBC)Serena's 'levelled up' Filipino spring rolls. (Photo: BBC)

Serena said: “The judges absolutely loved it, they said the presentation was ‘mad, they loved the texture and said it had layers of flavours.”

Kayla made it through to the next round of the competition and viewers will have to tune in on Tuesday next week to see if she makes it even further.

Speaking about her experience on the show, Serena said it has made her realise that this is the industry she wants to work in.  

She said: “I found it to be the most rewarding experience.

“While it was exhausting because you’re up for the majority of the day and night, it makes you a lot more resilient than you ever thought you could be.

“It was an eye-opener in terms of my self-worth and how I see myself.

“I came out of it feeling so pumped up, so confident and so secure knowing that this is the industry I want to work in.”

Serena, who works as a bubble tea barista and hosts the occasional food pop up stall, hopes the show will open some doors for her in the food industry.

Her ultimate dream is to have her own cooking and journalism show. She hopes to one day be the face of Ready Steady Cook and would love to run a restaurant in Bristol and up north.

She said: “I think there is room for someone like me on TV and it would be great to represent the north and my working class hometown.

“I think it would inspire a lot of people and also represent a few communities which aren’t often represented as much as they should be.

“My heritage is so important to me. Growing up in Accrington there weren’t many people that looked like me and had such a mixed heritage and it was quite a tough time.

“You don’t see a lot of people like me on the TV so I am glad I have been able to offer this level of representation by appearing on Hungry For It.

“It is nice I can do this for people growing up in these small towns, who might feel like a bit of an ‘other’ or not like anyone else.”

Hungry For It can be watched on BBC Three and iPlayer and airs Tuesdays at 8pm.