“My Pakistani heritage makes me standapart from the crowd and I am so proudto be Pakistani…”
BPF caught up with MasterChef 2017 winner Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, on her fantastic win and her career as a Junior Doctor, specialising in Gastroenterology…
Given your amazing achievement, how does it feel being the winner of MasterChef 2017?
It feels fantastic! A life changing experience. The warmth and love that I have received have made the whole experience so worthwhile. I could never have imagined that I would be in this position.
Do you think your life as a Junior Doctor and a Chef both complement each other, and if so how?
I work in Gastroenterology which is the study of digestive disorders. So I spend a lot of time talking to patients about food and health. In a way, my medical speciality complements my food career.
What advice would you give to budding chefs that are looking to breakthrough in the food industry?
I think it is really important to stick to your roots and use culture and tradition that is familiar to you in your food. The importance of food heritage is often overlooked.
Being a British Pakistani, what challenges have you come across as a Junior Doctor and as a Chef, and what advice would you give to those facing such challenges?
The main challenge I have faced is balancing multiple priorities. I have learnt to multitask over the years and my family have been extremely supportive. I would advise people in similar situations to ensure that they have good support systems around them.
Where does your passion for cooking originate from?
I had a lovely grandmother who was a very good Kashmiri cook. My mother worked full time as a Doctor and still made fresh food for us each night- she remains my inspiration.
As your winning dish “East meets West” won you the title of MasterChef – do you think your British Pakistani heritage has contributed to your success in life?
Absolutely, my Pakistani heritage makes me stand apart from the crowd and I am so proud to be Pakistani.
Having won MasterChef, what does the future look like for you?
The future holds many opportunities- I am writing a cookbook, participating in food festivals and also continuing my speciality training as a Gastroenterologist. It is wonderful to be in a world where I am showered with so many opportunities. I feel very privileged.