The evening was hosted by Sky TV’s Lukwesa Burak with Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg both delivering messages of support by video link to the nation’s 35,000 Asian caterers. Her Majesty The Queen also sent a message of support. Awards were presented by high profile guests including the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Dignitaries who attended the event included the Rt Hon Tom Brake, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Sadiq Khan, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Rushanara Ali, Shadow Minister for International Development, the Ambassador of Indonesia, Teuku Mohammed Hamzah Thayeb and other diplomats.
In his keynote speech, Asian Curry Awards Chairman Yawar Khan said, “These awards are very close to my heart and I have been overwhelmed with the number and quality of entrants,” and paid tribute to the Queen and Prime Minister for acknowledging the contribution by all the Asian communities living in Britain.
Guests were treated to an exquisite menu from the award-winning event caterers, Madhu’s. Entertainment was provided by China UK, Taal Torongo and Absolute Bollywood: colourful dance troupes, and songs from the powerful 18 year old classical crossover singer and composer Maisie Tooley with an eclectic mix of haunting ballads and orchestra crescendos .
Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide chaired a team of judges, which included Dev Biswal, owner of the Michelin-listed Ambrette Restaurants, Geraldine Higgins, Chef Lecturer EWHL college and Annette Allmark, Head of Professional Standards, People 1st.
At the event, 4 very special honorary awards were presented, along with the awards for 14 Regional categories, newcomers to the industry, the Chef competition awards and the International category.
Special Honorary awards were presented to – The Rt Hon Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Neil Jameson, CEO of Citizens UK, John Walker, the immediate past National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Shamim Syed of Durbar Tandoori in Bayswater was named ‘Chef of the Year’ and Sabbir Karim of Bloombury’s Salaam Namaste, London WC1 won ‘Best Innovative Chef’. The Cinnamon Club’s Jai V Kadam was revealed as ‘Young Chef of The Year’ and Hesan Choudhury of The Purple Rooms in Birmingham is ‘Young Restaurateur of the Year’.
‘Best Restaurant’ went to Tops Buffet, Manchester (Chinese), Oishii Japanese Eatery, London (Japanese), Stay House London , (Malaysian), Everest Inn, Hythe, Kent (Nepalese) ‘Best Thai’ was shared between Mai Thai in Peterborough and Thai Lounge, Lingfield in Surrey.
Regional awards for ‘Best South Asian Restaurant and Takeaway’ went to: London – Anokha, EC3 (Overall Winner) Salaam Namaste (WC2) ‘Newcomer of The Year’, Dewaniam, SE23, ‘Best Take Away’; London Suburbs – Coriander, Hatch End, Stoneleigh Brassiere, Epsom ‘Newcomer of The Year’, Mahan, Bexley (Best Take-Away), Swad, New Malden (Newcomer/Take Away of The Year), South Coast – Memories of India (Bosham) and Cosham Balti ‘Best Take Away’; South East – Shakil’s, Bicester (Overall), Desi Indian Dining Club, Grays (Newcomer of The Year) and Mahan Indian Take Away, Bexley (Best Take Away); South – Indi’s, Bournemouth; Devon & Cornwall – Maha Bharat, Kingsbridge; East of England – Zafran, Westcliff-on-Sea and Riverside Spice, Earls Colne (shared); East Midlands – Royal Tandoori, Corby; West Midlands – Agra Palace, Nuneaton; North East – Days Of the Raj, Gosforth (Overall), Jewel in the Crown, Birtley (Best Take Away); Yorkshire & Humber -The Original Dil Raj, Barnsley; Wales – Sheesh Mahal, Llanelli; Scotland – Nawaabs Tandoori, Aberdeen.
The Swedish city of Stockholm was chosen as the representative in the International category with accolades going to Waipo Stockholm (Best Chinese Restaurant), Pong Buffet, (Buffet) and Shanti Touch of Bengal( Best Bangladeshi Restaurant).
The winners of the Young Chef of the Year and Chef of the Year were decided by a series of hotly sponsored cook offs at Hospitality House, the Hospitality Guild’s flagship training and meeting facility in East Finchley, North London at The Asian & Oriental Chef and Young Chef (under 25) on 23rd October, hosted by People 1st.
Commenting on the standard, chairman of the judges, Pat Chapman said; “These awards bring forward some extremely talented cooks – youth category excelled itself with innovation, whilst recognising the traditions which make Asian cuisines so distinctive.”
Pat Chapman was pleased to see many young female entries, especially Muslims, many of who had previously been absent from many commercial kitchens.
Fellow judge Dev Biswal was most impressed with the skills and creativity of student chefs, and said the finalist would be more welcome to undertake work experience in his kitchens.
The Asian Curry Awards 2013 were sponsored by Booker Wholesale, Kingfisher Beer (Europe), People 1st and the Hospitality Guild,
Mohammed Shah & Co, MATRADE, Malaysian Kitchen, Card Connect and Square Mile Insurance.
At the end of the evening Yawar Khan presented the Asian Curry Awards’ charity partner the Royal Marsden Cancer Trust with a cheque for £1,500.
For more details of the event and a complete list of winners visit www.asiancurryawards.co.uk