A 29-year-old young junior doctor from Watford, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed nails the Masterchef UK by beating 64 fellow competitors and crowning the winner’s title. Born in Kashmir, Pakistan and raised in the UK, she is a professional gastroenterologist who is determined to combine her expertise as a medical professional and her virtuosity as a cook to make an impact, which she already has by bagging a win of one of the biggest cooking competitions in the world.
Her culinary skills are simply to die for and entail a beautiful fusion of native and continental food ideas. She maybe a British by her current location but every bit of a Desi Pakistani at heart. Guess what she chose to make as one of the competition’s last three dishes?
The infamously drop dead tasty Shami Kebabs.
She gave it a whole new avatar by using deer meat, served with cashew and coriander green chutney, and channa dal and kachumber salad on the sides.
The main course presented was a 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.
A Pannacotta made with saffron rosewater and cardamom served with a deconstructed baklava including pistachio honeycomb, filo pastry shards, kumquats, and pistachios was served as the star dessert to seize the night.
The jury was stunned at her brilliant selection of food ideas and honored her with a flying victory and great remarks.
Judge Gregg Wallace described her menu as: “East meets West” and “simply stunning – beautiful art on a plate”.
Co-judge John Torode said: “She’s walked in here and taken her food culture apart and put it back together in a modern and very exciting way”.
It is most certainly well-deserved victory though. Being a medical professional, she had to put in a lot of hard work including late night cooking after a long 13-hour shift, zero holidays, and a hectic schedule without any sleep, but it seems totally worth it.
On her glorious winning moment, she stated with joy;
“To be the Masterchef champion is fantastic and wonderful. Adjectives are not sufficient. This is definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life!
“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!”
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