5.4 million tuned in to watch Saliha claim MasterChef crown

MasterChef 2017

Giovanna wants to open a small restaurant More

Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, who has been named the victor of the 2017 series of the BBC programme Masterchef.

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The 29-year-old from Watford became the 13th amateur cook to be named champion after beating off competition from Steve Kielty and Giovanna Ryan.

And when they told her she had lifted the trophy her reaction was adorable - she jumped in the air and then span around screaming. To be the MasterChef champion is fantastic and wonderful.

After being handed the MasterChef 2017 trophy, Saliha said: "I feel incredible right now, I can't actually believe that this is true". I'm not a cool person at all. "I'm so happy my cheekbones are hurting".

The judges described her as a "class act". Torode remarked, "She s walked in here and taken her food culture apart and put it back together in a modern and very exciting way".

Runners up Steve Kielty and Giovanna Ryan agreed the "best cook won".

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.

Besides, she was quite thrilled at winning the title.

Well done to all three.

Saliha's winning menu started with a venison shami kebab with cashew and coriander green chutney, chana daal and a kachumbar salad - in memory of her grandmother's house in Pakistan.

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". It was followed by a Kashmiri-style sous vide duck breast, with crispy duck skin, freekeh wheatgrain, spiced with barberries, walnuts and coriander, a cherry chutney and a duck and cherry sauce.

She said: "My dream is to continue working as a doctor - and also to combine it with my other passion - food".

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