It has been a dream for people in Pakistan to find women who are doctors by profession but still find it a passion for cooking. We look for such traits when looking for a bahu. While it is not an uncommon trait in Pakistani women, but we are overjoyed by making it official in the kitchen of the popular Master Chef UK contest. Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, a full-time medical professional, a beautiful daughter, a wife and a loving mom has won the title of Master Chef UK 2017. Her “shami kabab” impressed the judges quite a lot.

Saliha beat 64 amateur cooks to the finals as they were passed down to three, Saliha herself alongside Steve Kielty and Giovanna Ryan.
In the Master Chef UK finale, the contestants were given 180 minutes to prepare a three-course meal. Saliha prepared venison shami kabab for the starters, which were served with cashew nuts and coriander chutney (we can’t just go without some green chutney in Pakistan) and of course the kachumbar salad (mixed salad), how can we miss that?

Image source: BBC

Being from a Kashmiri background, she served a traditional Kashmiri style sous vide duck breast along with that coriander and cherry chutney as the main course.

Image source: BBC

Finally, for the dessert, it was ‘Pannacotta’ that had some much-loved elements on the plate and was inspired by her childhood favorite baklava. It had a zest of saffron rosewater and cardamom. Gregg Wallace, the Master Chef judge described her meal as “East meets west”

Image source: BBC

As a doctor, she is a junior specialist in gastroenterology and it was not a piece of cake for her to win such a prestigious title. She said “It involved a lot of hard work and early starts – late night cooking after 13 hour long shifts, no holidays, no breaks, no sleep – but it was well worth it.”

Image source: BBC

Saliha also said her passions include Pakistani food, Kashmiri cuisine, Persian and Middle-Eastern food, and Mughal cooking. She gave the credit to her family, particularly her grandmother for loving food and encouraging her passion for food. She wishes to keep working on her cooking passion until she can write some great cookbooks.

Although with so many people praising her for the mighty win, there are some judgmental trolls on the Internet that she has been facing since being crowned at the finale. People have been passing all kinds of remarks at her home décor that was shown during the finale (actually her parents’ house), criticizing her curry infused meals and passing remarks that includes stuff like she is just an Asian curry maker or that you don’t need to be a Master Chef to open a curry house.
(Guess goras find it hard to digest the well-cooked meal)

Image source: BBC

Keeping all the critiques aside, the judges remarked her meals as art on the plate. To which we will agree because just look at the way she makes simple Chaney ki daal (chickpea lentils) and shami kabab look like a heaven-sent meal.

What do you think?

Ramsha Rehan

Writer, Passionate Reader, Analyzer and dreamer. Loves food and travelling. Looking for an escape.