Masterchef winner 2012: Shelina Permalloo crowned first female champion in 7 years

There's a new Masterchef in town, Nigella! Shelina Permalloo is crowned the first female champion in seven years

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UPDATED:

08:45 GMT, 16 March 2012

She is already being dubbed the new domestic goddess by fans and it seems Shelina Permalloo is firmly on her way to rivalling Nigella.

The 29-year-old beauty was crowned winner of BBC1's Masterchef – the first female champion in seven years.

Judges and hosts John Torode and Greg Wallace said she had cooked some of the 'best meals' they had ever tasted on the series and insisted she plan to open a restaurant of her own.

Triumphant: Shelina Permalloo is the first female winner of Masterchef in seven years

Triumphant: Shelina Permalloo is the first female winner of Masterchef in seven years

The only other woman to win the show since it was revived is Thomasina Miers, who was victorious in 2005.

Miss Permalloo beat research analyst
Andrew Kojima, 33, and the heartthrob of the series, 26-year-old
plasterer Tom Rennolds from Yorkshire.

She credited her mother with teaching her how to cook and admitted she called her every day for advice during the competition.

Shock: Shelina could not believe the good news, covering her face with her hands in disbelief

Shock: Shelina could not believe the good news, covering her face with her hands in disbelief

Did I hear you right Shelina is overcome with emotion

Did I hear you right Shelina is overcome with emotion

Did I hear you right Shelina is overcome with emotion as she discovers she's beat the boys into first place

The former charity executive, whose parents are from Mauritius, has been hailed for her exotic food this series.

Wallace commented: 'If ever there was a
restaurant that had to happen it is Shelina's because her food is
incredible. You can't find it in very many places; you can't really find
it outside of Mauritius. She really does put sunshine on a plate.'

He also said her 'food will sell' and she needed to “find a backer” to help her set up her own venture.

Bad luck: Tom Rennolds and Andrew Kojima were given their marching orders

Bad luck: Tom Rennolds and Andrew Kojima were given their marching orders

In action: Selina served octopus to start, followed by mutton curry and then mango cannelloni

In action: Selina served octopus to start, followed by mutton curry and then mango cannelloni

Torode added: 'She is a star. She is a
very special cook with an exceptional talent who always wears a smile
and cooks with care.'

Miss
Permalloo, who is married and lives in Tooting, south London, said she
entered the competition to show-off Mauritian to the UK.

She said: 'I am completely and utterly
overwhelmed. I never thought it was going to be me that would win. I
just never thought it could happen to me.'

Winner: Shelina Permalloo, 29, was named the first female Masterchef champion in seven years

Nigella Kitchen has been queen of the kitchen, but might have a new rival

Winner: Shelina could rival queen of the kitchen Nigella Lawson

Masterchef judges Greg Wallace (left) and John Torode said Miss Permalloo cooked some of the best meals they have eaten

Masterchef judges Greg Wallace (left) and John Torode said Miss Permalloo cooked some of the best meals they have eaten

She also revealed to fans on her Twitter micro-blogging site that she was keen to set up her own venue.

She said: 'I would love to have my own
restaurant. Hopefully one day. I don't have a cookbook yet but if I do
there will be plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipies.

Miss Permalloo was an initially an
outsider to win the competition but her popularity with the audience has
grown in recent weeks.

Fit for a king: Shelina has developed an eye for presentation as well as taste

Fit for a king: Shelina has developed an eye for presentation as well as taste

Both
the judges and viewers have been charmed by her good humour and winning
smile as well as her dishes inspired by her heritage.

Scores
took to social networking sites and internet message boards to back her
to win and she has been hailed by fans as 'the complete package' and a
'domestic goddess'.

Miss Permalloo performed well on some
of the toughest tasks including cooking at the finest three Michelin
star restaurants in Europe and serving up a lavish meal for seven of the
world's best chefs.

Shelina Permalloo was one of the three finalists in this year's Masterchef programme on BBC1

Shelina Permalloo was one of the three finalists in this year's Masterchef programme on BBC1

Her signature dishes over the series
have included Red snapper with green papaya chutney and spinach, mango
'millefeuille' with dulce de leche caramel slice and white chocolate
sorbet, and Spiced scones with coriander cream cheese and mango relish.

SHELINA'S WINNING MENU

Starter

Octopus served on marinated fennel with pickled ginger, sliced baby beetroot carrots and concasse tomatoes served with brown shrimp jelly, mango and apple vinegar and tobiko.

Main course

Mutton curry served with a mustard seed and turmeric marinated Bone Marrow, Biryani Rice and a Chili Pumpkin Quenelle Swiss Chard Roulade stuffed with Green Banana Pickle.

Dessert

Mango cannelloni filled with lime curd, coconut and rum blancmange samosas filled with white chocolate, crme fraiche, and mango jelly squares.

Miss Permalloo was born in Southampton where she lived with her brother, sister and both parents until her father passed away suddenly when she was 13.

She was keen to become a chef but was told by her mother to get a degree before trying her hand at catering.

The hopeful studied psychology at university before working for charities, but she has remained “obsessed” with food.

Miss Permalloo said: 'My mum is a
brilliant cook, I learnt everything from her, I am basically her sous
chef. She taught me to cook by intuition – never by using scales –
always by sight and taste, so I developed a strong palate from a young
age.'

'Mauritian food has influences from Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, French, African, Indian – lots of different styles of cooking.

'It's
very diverse and very frugal – you don't waste anything, which is great
in these economic climates, but at the same time full of flavour heady
with aromatics, nutritional and damn tasty.

Miss
Miers – the last female winner – has gone on to present TV shows and
launch the successful Wahaca chain of Mexican diners and a series of
cook books.

Former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers went on to set up her own chain of Mexican restaurants

Former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers went on to set up her own chain of Mexican restaurants