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MasterChef winner remembers student days at Brunel

MasterChef winner remembers student days at Brunel

This year’s queen of the popular TV cookery show MasterChef has looked back fondly at her time as a student at Brunel University, when she treated her friends to a taste of her culinary skills.

Shelina Permalloo, 29, won BBC 1’s MasterChef 2012 last week [Thursday March 15]. She graduated from Brunel in 2004 with a degree in Psychology.

In an interview with Brunel University’s Express magazine, Shelina recalled her time living in student residences on campus, where she often made meals for her fellow students. “I lived in Mill Hall and I did a lot of cooking," she said. "I was always making stuff up out of whatever we had left in the cupboard - just spicing it up a bit!”

Shelina, who now lives in Tooting, south London, credits her Mauritian mother’s influence in developing her love of cooking. Her dream is to open her own restaurant and raise the profile of Mauritian food in this country, and she credits her degree with having given her some of the transferable skills necessary for the fulfilment of that dream.

“If it wasn’t for Brunel I wouldn’t have got any of the jobs that I had before MasterChef,” she said. “I learned skills like managing people, planning my time and project management. You pick up skills like that at uni but you only really learn them when you’re working in the real world.”

She added, “It took me nearly ten years between leaving Brunel and figuring out that I couldn’t live without working in food. I don’t regret my time there and the jobs that I had afterwards for a second. I met some of my best friends at Brunel, people that I consider family.”

The full interview with Shelina will be published in Brunel University’s quarterly Express magazine in May.

For further details contact: • Press Office:, 01895 265585, switchboard 01894 274000 • Rachel Turvey (editor of Express): For the BBC Press Office: Beverly Comboy, PLANK PR The Courtyard, 4 Evelyn Road, London W4 5JL Direct line 020 8995 3936, Mobile 07795 840723