Mirror Desk : Britain’s korma kings were last night crowned second to naan as they received the highest accolade in the curry industry — the BCA Curry Chef of the Year award.
The 12 winners of the coveted Chef of the Year category can now lay claim to being the best in their region after impressing judges during a heated cook-off last month.
The Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA) visited hundreds of curry houses and takeaways across the length and breadth of Britain in the hunt for the nation’s top chefs and restaurants.
The 13th annual Curry Chef and Curry Restaurant of the Year Awards are the curry industry’s premier awards, backed by restaurants and chefs themselves and considered the ‘Oscars’ of the curry world
The BCA, which represents more than 12,000 restaurants in the UK, whittled down a list of hundreds of contenders to just 27 chef finalists and 38 shortlisted curry houses.
The finalists went head to head with one another at a cook-off event to produce a dish worthy of the judges’ top marks.
Last night, the curry masters rubbed shoulders with celebrity guests, dignitaries and politicians during a glittering ceremony in Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel.
An evening of entertainment and culinary delights was hosted by news anchor Tasmin Lucia-Khan, as well as actor and Celebrity Masterchef winner Alexis Conran.
The list of sponsors for the awards featured a marinade of well-known brands, including: Cobra Beer, Kingfisher Beer, Chef Online, Kansara’s, Square Mile Insurance, Sunmark, Radhuni, Lisamo (Blue Box Deal), Shapla City Ltd, Gandhi Oriental food, Paytap, Aroma Icecream, Madhus and BCA Charity Partner British Asian Trust.
Kamal Yakub, BCA President, told guests: “Tonight’s finalists have all gone above and beyond to demonstrate their passion for great cuisine.
“Without them, these awards would not exist. Without gifted chefs and restaurants like these, Britain’s favourite national dish might not be curry!
“The next time you find yourself in a curry house, picking up the phone to order a takeaway, or simply tapping an app for a curry on demand, I implore you to stop and think of the powerhouse driving the industry — the people who form its backbone — and who today need your help and support more than ever.”
Oli Khan, BCA Secretary-General, said: “With restaurants and takeaways closing at a rate of four a week and the constant negative press surrounding Britain’s curry crisis, those working behind the scenes should be commended for their optimism and steadfast perseverance.
“This evening is an opportunity to shine a light on the issues affecting takeaways and restaurants, to drive home messages and to drum up support for the work we do. But, more importantly, it is about honouring the individuals who make this industry one that is worth fighting for.”
Saidur Rahman, Chief Treasurer of the BCA, added: “As we carry on the fight for great British curry, I would encourage all members to help us in our mission by continuing to seek out new members, raising awareness and tapping into the passion that makes our industry the best of Britain.
BCA Chef of the Year 2018 Winners
Mr Abdul Muhith Shabul – Maharani Restaurant, Sittingbourne, Kent
Shahed Uddin Chowdhury — Indian Diner, West Wickham South East London
Foysal Ahmed — Curry Garden, Hertfordshire
Manik Miah — Tamasha Spice of Life, Haywards Heath, Lindfield, West Sussex
Shelim Ahmed — Hatti Indian Cuisine, Newport, South East Wales
Amdadur Rahman — Spice Lounge, Burford, Oxfordshire
Abdul Hye — Pipasha Restaurant,Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Abdul Malik — Bengal Tiger Restaurant, London
Mohammad Masum Afruz — Himalaya Indian Restaurant & Bar, Stratford, East London
Mohammad Amin — Voujon Indian Restaurant, Rayne Braintree, Essex.
Kodor Ali — Tiger Garden, Buckinghamshire
Salim Javed, Mint Caterers, Leyton, London.
BCA Curry Restaurant of the Year 2018 Winners
Abdul Muhaimen, City Spice,East London,
Suhana Hassan, Mombai Lounge, York, North Yorkshire
Megdad Ahmed, Indian Diner, West Wickham, Kent.
Syedur Rahman Choudhury, Spice Lounge, Camberley, Surry
Mohammed Babul Ahmed, Spices, Saltburn by the Sea, North Yorkshire, North East
Samuj Ali, Paradise Balti House, Petersfield, Hampshire.
Areeb Quadir, Royal Tandoori, Whyteleafe, Surrey
Mohammed Abdul Aziz, Hatti Indian Cuisine, Newport, Wales
Raj Adhikary, Monsoona, Aberdeen.
Azizur Rahman, Jalsha, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire.
Yameem Ruhul Hossain Deedar, The Shahin Restaurant, Guildford