8 Dec, 2021
Today BBC Masterchef 2012 winner, Lakaz Maman Southampton restaurant owner, and author Shelina Permalloo is announced as the New Chair for the Southampton 2025 Trust.
Having lived in Southampton her whole life, and after time as a Project Manager in the field of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Shelina went on to take part in television’s popular MasterChef programme, being crowned BBC’s MasterChef Champion in 2012.
Upon the announcement, Permalloo said: “High on my agenda all my life has been my concern that all people should get access to opportunities, whatever their background and circumstances. I hope that I can inspire other people to follow their dreams. The opportunity to chair the City of Culture Bid is an honour and a responsibility I am hugely grateful to have. I believe passionately that Southampton needs and deserves this chance to transform lives through winning the coveted title of UK City of Culture.”
Shelina opened her first restaurant Lakaz Maman, a Mauritian Street Kitchen, in Southampton in 2016, which is run by an all-female management team. Most recently, she has partnered her restaurant with SOS Children’s Village, an orphanage based in Mauritius. For every full-time staff member, Lakaz Maman will sponsor a child, directly impacting and benefiting vulnerable children in Mauritius.
Her community work in Southampton is extensive. During the pandemic, Shelina and her team cooked over 1,500 meals for keyworkers, homeless, and children, as well as supporting over 300 free school meals. She is an Ambassador for Southampton’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme, and most recently she helped develop a cookbook in partnership with Southampton looked after children and care givers.
Southampton 2025 Bid Director, Claire Whitaker OBE, said today: “We are absolutely delighted that Shelina Permalloo has accepted our invitation to chair the Southampton 2025 bid. She is not only an example of a successful entrepreneur, who has lived all her life in Southampton, she is also an experienced and committed champion of diversity and inclusion, speaking up for children and young people, and those whose voices are often not heard. Everyone knows Shelinashe as a BBC MastercChef winner. But now Shelina is a Southampton winner. We are fortunate indeed to welcome her as our Chair as we move forward with our bid programme.”