Observations BMJ Confidential

Saliha Mahmood: Junior doctor, master chef

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2644 (Published 07 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2644

Biography

Saliha Mahmood, a junior doctor at Watford General Hospital, is the 2017 winner of the BBC’s MasterChef, a platform that has launched many a restaurateur—but she plans to stick to medicine, focusing on the related specialty of gastroenterology. She won by cooking venison shami kebab, Kashmiri-style sous-vide duck breast spiced with dried barberries (“clean, crisp, refined, and beautiful,” said John Torode, judging), and saffron rose water and cardamom panna cotta. This culinary triumph was not her first, as she won a school chef of the year competition at age 15. Her talents come, she declares, from her two grandmothers and her mother.

What was your earliest ambition?

As a 5 year old I remember taking knives and forks out of the kitchen cupboard and pretending to operate on my cousins. I’d quite literally make them my patients and force surgery on them. So, perhaps my earliest ambition was to be a surgeon—and it’s ironic that I was playing with cooking utensils all those years ago.

What was your best career move?

Taking up a post in core medical training. Without this I’d never have been able to do my MRCP (Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians) and pursue a career in gastroenterology. Gastroenterology and gastronomy are intimately related, and …

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