Chef Interview with Shelina Permalloo
Cook, TV Chef & Author of not one, but two fabulous cookbooks; The Sunshine Diet' & 'Sunshine on a Plate’, Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo is certainly enticing us with new flavours and a new found love for Mauritian cuisine.
Q. How long have you been cooking for?
A. Apparently I started hovering around my mum's kitchen at the age of 3 trying to be her sous chef.
Q. How would you describe your style of cooking?
A. Mauritian modern authentic with a strong focus on flavour and colour.
Q. Is there another chef that you most admire?
A. So many!!! It would be hard to pinpoint... the chefs I love learning from are ones who have taken something frugal and turned it into something magnificent. I learnt that when I cooked with the head chef and owner of 3 star michelin restaurant, De Karmeliet. He took the humble mackarel and made it 3 star (Geert Van Hecke).
Q. What’s your signature dish?
A. Anything containing octopus.
Q. Do you have a favourite ingredient?
A. Nothing beats mango!
Q. What would you choose for your "last meal”?
A. Something cooked by my mum. Perhaps a simple Mauritian chicken dish with rice.
Q. Do you have a top cooking tip?
A. Don't try and be something you're not. Figure out your cooking style and stick to it.
Q. Do you have a favourite or funny memory of your time in the kitchen?
A. Apparently when I was 7 I said to my mum I would cook a cheesecake for everyone for pudding. Obviously back then there was no Google, so I grated mature cheddar, mixed it with butter and food colouring and added flour. I baked this and presented it to the family. Everyone said it was too pretty to eat, but of course it was just a complete mess!
Q. What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a chef?
A. Stay true to your roots and follow the food style you love.
Q. Any big plans for the future?
A. I have my first restaurant Lakaz Maman in southampton www.lakazmaman.com so ideally I'd like to open up a few more over the new couple of years. Also I would like to focus some time on writing my 3rd cook book.
Q. Anything else noteworthy you would like to add?
A. You can follow me on instagram or twitter @shelinacooks and Facebook ShelinaPermalloo cookery author and TV Chef x
Shelina will be back for another year in the London Halal Food Festival kitchen. Grab your Saturday tickets now to ensure you don’t miss this star chef in action.