SHE swapped one career as a medical supplies sales manager to become a guide at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh.


However, now Susan Gardner is stepping out of the comfort zone of her role with the National Trust for Scotland as she makes a bid to be crowned the winner of the Platinum Jubilee Pudding competition.
This week the five finalists will compete to be given the honour of creating a pudding fit for the Queen.

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The Platinum Pudding Competition, hosted by Fortnum and Mason, will see the creation of a brand-new pudding to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Much like Coronation Chicken in 1953, or the Victoria Sponge before that, the aim is to create of a dish that celebrates our monarch and can be enjoyed across the UK.

HeraldScotland: Jubilee Pudding finalists and judges including Mary BerryJubilee Pudding finalists and judges including Mary Berry
Cakes, a tart and a trifle make up the final five with flavours including roses, strawberries and Dubonnet all featuring.
Viewers will be able to watch the 65-year-old, from Argyll and Bute, battle it out with the four other contestants with the winner finally named during a TV special on Thursday, May 12.
Describing her mother as her inspiration, she has become a keen amateur baker attending numerous chocolate and patisserie courses. Her creation the Four Nations Pudding features ingredients from the four parts of the UK.
It includes Scottish berries, English rhubarb, Welsh cakes and Irish cream and butter.

HeraldScotland: Judges Mary Berry and Monica Galetti had a tough job on their handsJudges Mary Berry and Monica Galetti had a tough job on their hands
Mrs Gardner decided to enter the competition during her recovery from an accident and began to have ideas of what she could create.
"I had an accident in November, so I was at home recovering, not able to do very much when I saw the competition mentioned on the television and thought, ‘Well, that's quite interesting’. I've never entered a competition before," she said. "And then the ideas started coming to me, I got quite excited thinking what the pudding could be and created the Four Nations Pudding. I sent a recipe and picture off and put it completely out of my head. I never thought for one minute that I would hear anything else about it."

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The mother-of-one, who cried when she found out she was a finalist, wanted to create a pudding which reflected all four nations.
She added: "We're such a small country and I wanted to create something that would represent the UK coming together, using something special from each part of the UK, Scottish Berries, Yorkshire rhubarb, Welsh Cakes and Irish butter and cream. I wanted to unite us together as four nations and create something The Queen would enjoy and make her smile, nothing too heavy and something that anyone could make. 
"My son Ross is at university in Cardiff, my brother-in-law is English and we're of a Scottish Irish background as a family. So the four nations, kept coming back to me and I wanted to bring that together. "

HeraldScotland: Artist impression of the stage at Buckingham Palace for Platinum PartyArtist impression of the stage at Buckingham Palace for Platinum Party
After retiring from her medical sales career she had more time to bake and embarked on a patisserie course and at one point considered opening her own  but her job at Hill House, considered to be Mackintosh's finest domestic creations, happened by chance.
"I went along to the National Trust open day, when they were a going to reopen the Hill House, thinking, maybe I could be a supplier to them. They called me and after an interview where I gave them some bespoke biscuits with Mackintosh rose on them – they offered me a job," she said.
"I now work at the Visitor Centre multi-tasking in the cafe. Our numbers were depleted during lockdown and have to do everything from welcoming visitors, working at events – it’s a lovely place to work. So although I didn't continue with my own business as I thought, I've be making 1000s of these Mackintosh Empire biscuits for the Hill House ever since."
Nearly 5,000 people entered the Platinum Pudding competition, organised by Fortnum and Masons and the Big Jubilee Lunch. Judges include Monica Galetti and Dame Mary Berry while the Duchess of Cornwall has also had a say.

The Queen’s Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years In The Baking, is on BBC One at 8pm on May 12.