SHELINA Permalloo is the new chair of Southampton 2025 Trust, the organisation created to deliver the city’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.

Southampton 2025 has been chaired to date by Councillor Satvir Kaur, but it was always the intention that an independent chair would be appointed to lead the trust into the next stage of the bid. On behalf of the Southampton 2025 Trust, we would like to thank Councillor Kaur for all of her hard work and support and are pleased to announce that she will remain a Trustee.

Shelina was born in Southampton to Mauritian parents who migrated to the UK in the 1970s through the Commonwealth, going straight to Southampton where Shelina’s father worked as a teacher. He passed away when Shelina was 12 years old, and she was raised by her mother, who worked for the NHS for 25 years.

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. She opened her first restaurant Lakaz Maman, a Mauritian street kitchen, in Southampton in 2016, greeted with critical and popular acclaim.

Her restaurant is run by an all-female management team, which is rare in the field of hospitality. She continues to broadcast and write on food.

Her second book The Sunshine Diet was published in 2015.

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 benefitting 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.

Bid director, Claire Whitaker OBE, said: “Shelina is an example of a successful entrepreneur and an experienced and committed champion of diversity and inclusion, speaking up for children and young people, and those whose voices are often not heard.”