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Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed crowned MasterChef 2017 champion

Doctor Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed won the MasterChef final on Friday with her perfectly executed three-course meal

The mother and doctor said she was excited to see what opportunities might come knocking after the BBC competition’s finale screened on Friday.

She told the Press Association: “I would love to do cookbooks and write as much as possible about food and get recipes out there.”

“Television is a difficult industry to be in so I am in awe of everybody who does it, but I would love to go on other people’s shows, breakfast shows, cook on television and I would love, love, love to have my own cookery show.”

Saliha, 29, said that her biggest dream would be to combine her love of cooking with her career in medicine by helping people with special dietary conditions find their ideal foods.

She explained: “I want to help people who have got coeliac disease or irritable bowel syndrome to find food and diets for them that really are helpful, and see if there is anything that can help improve their quality of life.

MasterChef BBC
Saliha (MasterChef/BBC)


“Once you are doctor it is very difficult to leave and I certainly don’t want to do that.”

“Medicine is a passion and a love, but there is certainly scope for scaling down a bit and combining that with my love of food.”

Saliha dazzled judges and viewers in the final with her winning three-course menu of venison kebab, sous-vide duck and a rosewater and cardamom pannacotta, showing off the myriad techniques she picked up throughout the show.

“They’ve got me through my pregnancy and any other struggle in life.”

Saliha is the winner (BBC)


“I had never sous-vide anything in my life – that’s where you vacuum something, like a piece of meat then cook it in a water bath,” she said.

“I had never in a million years thought I would do that, but now I am looking into creating my own sous-vide machine.

“It’s the same with foams, gels, jellies, and all these things I would have never had a chance to make. I learnt so, so much and I definitely saw a change in the last dishes I made compared to the first.”

final three
The final three (BBC/PA)


Speaking months after filming wrapped up in January, she said she had become close friends with her fellow contestants – including unlucky finalists Giovanna Ryan and Steve Kielty – and said every stage of the competition came with the ‘incredible sadness’ of seeing another hopeful leave.

Saliha thanked judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode for teaching her tips and tricks throughout – giving special nods to John’s ability to ‘critique’ and Gregg’s ‘excellent palate’ – as well as her family of Pakistani cooks, her husband Usman and her two-year-old son Aashir.

John Torode
John wipes away a tear after crowning Saliha champion (MasterChef/BBC)


But she also credited her success to her trusty guilty pleasure: regular platefuls of perfectly cooked chips.

She admitted: “I am an absolute chip fiend, but I am very specific about how they are done.

“They have to be boiling hot, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, with plenty of salt and ketchup on the side.

“They’ve got me through my pregnancy and any other struggle in life.”

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