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Saliha takes MasterChef 2017 title


Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, 29, a hospital doctor training to specialise in gastroenterology, has became MasterChef 2017 Champion.

The final of Series 13 took place on Friday 12th May where all the finalists – including Steve Kielty, 40, and Giovanna Ryan, 29 – were tasked with challenges that showed off their creative flair and skills.

The final task for the competitors was to create and prepare a three-course meal for judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Saliha’s winning menu started with a Venison shami kebab with cashew and coriander green chutney, chana daal and a kachumbar salad, on which John Torode poured praise: “I love it. I absolutely love it!”

Up next was her main course of a sous-vide duck breast, with crispy duck skin, freekeh wheatgrain, spiced with dried barberries, walnuts and coriander, a cherry chutney and a duck and cherry sauce. Again, nothing but praise was given by the judges with John commenting: “I’m really, really blown away by this. I think it’s delicious.”

The final dish in Saliha’s three-course menu was a Saffron rosewater and cardamom pannacotta with deconstructed baklava, including honeycomb, candied pistachios, filo pastry shards and kumquats.

Judge Gregg Wallace, a self-confessed pudding lover, was sold on its taste: “I’m a real lover of puddings and that pudding is extraordinary and extraordinarily good.” And John was in agreement too saying, “It’s divine”.

Saliha faced off competition from 63 other contestants over seven weeks of culinary challenges. But, despite cooking since the age of 12, she wants to remain working as a doctor while writing cookery books to help drive the nation towards eating healthier meals.

Talking on her win, Saliha said: “I feel amazing right now, I can’t actually believe that this is true. I’m so happy that my cheekbones are hurting right now and I think I’m probably going to have a paracetamol for smile-induced fatigue!

“To be the MasterChef champion is fantastic and wonderful. Adjectives are not sufficient. I’m not a cool person at all. My husband and family will vouch for it. And this is most definitely the coolest thing that I’ve ever done in my life!”

And even the judges got emotional, with Torode wiping away a tear after announcing Saliha as champion.

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