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Teacher does her cooking on television Robert Moreno | Sat, Jun 22 2013 12:00 PM

After a long day of work as a special education teacher at Granger Jr. High School in National City, Savannah Sturges likes to decompress by cooking.

“Being a teacher is real stressful,” Sturges said. “You really need something to help you unwind and that is what cooking does for me,“ she said.

Now Sturges, 28, has to deal with the stress of cooking the right meal as a contestant on “MasterChef” season four, a competitive cooking reality show on the Fox Network.

The Eastlake resident said she auditioned for season three of the show in Los Angeles but failed to make it.

She had no intentions of auditioning for the show again, but that changed when auditions were held in San Diego, she said.

The former Miss Bonita 2004 said she wanted to be on the show to prove to herself that she is a good cook.

“I thought why not take a chance and see if I’m as good as my family and friends say I am,” she said.

Sturges said she is a big “MasterChef” fan and she knew she wanted to be a contestant on the competitive cooking show after the first season.

Sturges said she always tries to be a positive role model for her students and couldn’t think of a better way to do so than to be on television.

“I want to show the students that just because I’m a teacher doesn’t mean I can’t go out and pursue my dreams, and no dream is too big,” she said. “I want them to feel like they can put themselves out there and they could try something they never thought was possible for them.”

Sturges said she loves to bake, but when it comes to cooking, her specialties are Mexican and Italian food.

Sturges has big plans if she wins the $250,000 grand prize for being the next MasterChef.

“My dream is to open up my own donut coffee shop,” she said.  “And if I were to win ‘MasterChef’ then that would give me the ability to do so.”

The reality show has already opened many doors in the culinary world for the South Bay native.

Sturges said she and a friend are in talks about starting a private event catering business.

Currently she said she offers private cooking lessons.

Sturges said although she is on television, she hasn’t quite reached celebrity status.

“Not a single person has recognized me,” she said. “They haven’t really been featuring me very much on the show so far, but nobody has recognized me; I’m kind of surprised.”

“MasterChef” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

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