MasterChef 2017 finalists: who is Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed?

Everything you need to know about the doctor and chef with a penchant for Pakistani cuisine

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MasterChef 2017 finals week contestants: Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed

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From: Watford (grew up in Ickenham, Middlesex)

Age: 29 (28 whilst filming)

Profession: Doctor

Twitter: @salihacooks

Who is Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed?

MasterChef finalist Saliha has been cooking since the age of 12, quickly adding Pakistani food to her pallet thanks to her grandmothers – Saliha claims cooking is “in my genes”.

After she started in the kitchen wasn’t long before she started to make a big impact with her dishes: at age 15 she won the ‘School Chef of the Year’ competition. 

Unfortunately, Saliha doesn’t have as much time in the kitchen as she’d like due to her NHS job: “I’ve always seen food as a serious hobby but being a doctor means I don’t always have the time to fully engage in it,” she said.

How well has Saliha done in MasterChef so far?

Extremely well considering she’s challenged the old rule that the best food isn’t the best for you – Saliha has cooked up a healthy twist in every meal, impressing hosts John and even sweet tooth Gregg.

The highest praise she’s got this series is from John; he said her spicy chicken dish reminded him strongly of his grandmother…

But that wasn’t the last of the positive feedback to head in Saliha’s direction: during the semi-finals, she wowed all four of the judges with her spicy patties.

When is the MasterChef 2017 final on TV?

The finalists are facing a number of challenges this week. Here’s a taste of what’s to come in each episode.

Monday 8th May, 8.30pm, BBC1

The final five travel to Winfield House, the official residence of the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, where they have the immense task of cooking for him and his five guests, who include author and journalist Rachel Johnson, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Jeremy King, creator of restaurants The Ivy and The Wolseley.

After cooking a complex menu designed by Paul Ainsworth, and cooking a ‘personal’ dish for Gregg and John, one of the five will be sent home.

Wednesday 10th May, 8pm, BBC1

The final four will be jet-setting to South Africa to face three challenges from the country’s best chefs. They’ll also be cooking at The Test Kitchen, South Africa’s top restaurant and the 25th best in the world.

Thursday 11th May, 8pm, BBC1

It’s time for another contestant to head home: the four hopefuls will be challenged to put their spin on a classic dish, after which one chef will be sent packing by Gregg and John.

Then it’s the scariest task yet: The Chef’s Table. The remaining finalists will be mentored by two-Michelin-Star chef Sat Bains before producing a dish from his experimental menu.

Friday 12th May, 8.30pm, BBC1

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It’s the grand final. The last step to the coveted Masterchef champion’s trophy. But it won’t be an easy one: the contestants have three hours to cook three courses for Gregg and John, who are looking for culinary boundaries to be smashed.