An engineer with a cuisine dream made an emotional appearance before the nation last week on Masterchef.

Alec Tomasso of Shephall in Stevenage underwent the pressure cooker environment of the BBC talent show in a bid to make it big as a chef.

The 35-year-old, who was brought up in Italy, impressed the judges with his rack of lamb and risotto to make it to the episode’s final eight, but then faced an invention test with a range of ingredients.

His rump steak with carrots, new potatoes and wild mushroom and port sauce was a good effort, but not enough to keep him in the show.

“The sauce went a bit pear shaped. I put in too much flour and not enough port. You are under pressure and the clock is going. It was a little bit gloopy.”

The judge’s comments on the meal left Alec in tears.

“Completely out of the blue, during the filming of all places, I had a sort of emotional breakdown. All the stress burst out of my face,” Alec said.

He said he thinks the long hours as a contract manager in London and pressure to succeed on the show took its toll. He added the experience has made him revaluate the level of stress in his life.

“It made me stand back and look at my whole life. The conclusion I came to was I was under too much stress at work.”

Since filming he has gone back to being an engineer and is using his new found spare time to get experience in professional kitchens.

“I didn’t realise how much it meant to me,” he said. “All of a sudden I wanted to do the best I could.”

He said his wife Suminder is his biggest supporter and he will keep working on his ambition to work as a professional chef.

“My dream is to have a restaurant with its own farm to produce great, zero miles, super-fresh produce, like an Italian agriturismo, but with a higher level of cooking.”