With a mouth-watering menu of ‘East meets West’ inspired by a Pakistani heritage, a junior British-Pakistani doctor, Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed has conquered over a great many 64 contestants to win the MasterChef UK 2017.
Hailing from Watford, Saliha outshone two contestants, Giovanna Ryan and Steve Kielty in the final round to come out victorious.
The two judges of the show, Gregg Wallace and John Torode, termed the British-Pakistani as a ‘class act’.
What did the champion chef say?
Mother of one, Saliha was ecstatic after winning the competition. She was of the view that she wanted to integrate her passion of cooking with her medical career. One of her key objectives was to assist people with unusual dietary conditions in finding their superlative food.
It is pertinent to mention that the British-Pakistani woman exchanged her on-call shifts with her colleagues in order to participate in the competition. Her field of specialization is gastroenterology and one of Saliha’s aim is to write a book on cooking besides dealing with obesity.
After winning MasterChef UK 2017, Saliha Mahmood stated:
“To be the MasterChef champion is fantastic and wonderful…this is definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life”
Winning the contest was never easy for 29-year old Saliha. She had to sacrifice a lot as she added:
“It involved a lot of hard work and early starts – late nights cooking after 13-hour long shifts, no holidays, no breaks, no sleep – but it was well worth it”
The interest for cooking food in Saliha was nurtured by her family. Moreover, she was also influenced and encouraged by one of her teachers who entered the wonder girl in a cooking competition when she was only 15. Unsurprisingly, she managed to win that very contest too.
Saliha’s 3 mouth-watering and winning dishes
The three dishes which Saliha made in the final round were:
- Venison Shami Kebab along with casher and coriander green chutney, chana dal and a kachumbar salad. She made this dish in memory of her grandmother
- Kashmiri-style sous-vide duck breast, with crispy duck skin, freekeh wheat grain, spiced with dried barberries, walnuts and coriander, a cherry chutney and a duck and cherry sauce. According to John Torode, the dish was “clean, crisp, refined and beautiful”
- The final dish was Saffron rosewater and cardamom panna cotta, served with a deconstructed baklava, including candied pistachios, pistachio honeycomb, filo pastry shards and kumquats. Saliha prepared this dessert as she took inspiration from her childhood love for baklava
At the end of the competition, British-Pakistani Saliha Mahmood stated:
“I’m from a big Pakistani family and we use food as a way of bringing everyone together,” she said. “I had very passionate grandmothers. She used to cook traditional Pakistani food and my mum is also an excellent cook. We love to feed people – it runs in our genes”
Saliha also received plenty of acknowledgement and appreciation from all over the world after winning the MasterChef UK 2017 title.