8th July, 2013 London: Central London’s trendy restaurant set was enlivened with the sights and sounds of an authentic Delhi street market on Monday, 8th July when the capital’s iconic fine dining Indian restaurant, Chor Bizarre, kicked-off its month long 15th anniversary celebrations with a special charity fundraising dinner in support of a Government-backed, industry-led initiative to nurture and train, through apprenticeships and speciality courses, UK-grown chefs and food professionals in the methods and nuances of authentic Indian cuisine. The pioneering initiative, which has been implemented jointly by the Asian Restaurant Skill Board and the UK Government, is intended to boost youth job opportunities and skills within the Asian cuisine sector.
In attendance at the event was the Hon. Don Foster MP, Minister for Integration at the Department of Communities and Local Government and Iqbal Wahhab OBE, Founder of Tandoori Magazine, The Cinnamon Club and Roast and is the Chairman of the Asian Restaurant Skills Board. Also in the attendance were the VIPs, industry stalwarts and celebrities, including Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, the Maharani of Jaipur and London leading hair stylist and salon owner, Paul Edmonds.
Guests at the intimate event were treated to an elaborate three-course menu with a choice of unlimited wines and an accompaniment of live Bollywood music. Proceeds from the £50 tickets were given to the Asian Restaurant Skills Board charity, supported by the Government and the University of West London.
Chor Bizarre has earned its formidable reputation for serving palatable Indian cuisine to gastronomes across the city for the past 15 years. The event was hosted by Rohit Khattar, the Chairman of Old World Hospitality which operates Chor Bizarre. Opening the evening, he said: “I am so delighted that in our 15th year, we have partnered with a great organization as the Asian Restaurant Skills Board. It is difficult for restaurants in the UK to bring in Chefs from India due to the strict immigration policies however with the launch of the new initiative we have been able to fill a much needed hole in our business, and what’s more, we are giving someone from the UK the opportunity to prosper and learn in the workplace at a time when jobs are hard to come by.
We are so pleased with our new apprentices Ranbir and Aaron who have been a delight to mentor and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Asian Restaurant Skills Board.”
Keynote speaker, Hon. Don Foster MP thanked Mr Khattar for supporting the scheme, highlighting how important integration is in the current immigration crisis, stressing how it will provide real opportunities to give some really enterprising young people the opportunity to grow. He continued by saying “Food is a very important aspects of our lives – it’s at a restaurant where some of the biggest business deals have been sealed and couples have met. In an integral part of or lifestyle, especially the £3.6bn Indian curry industry.
The UK immigration crisis results in more European chefs and staff in curry houses and through the Asian Restaurant Skills Board we aim to minimize the problem of bringing chefs into the UK. Tonight is about giving real opportunities to people and the skills they need to succeed.”
Mr Wahhab also went on to emphasise the difficulty of matching the needs of employers with the aspirations of young people: ‘Hundreds of thousands of young people unemployed can be trained. We can combine our interests with their aspirations’. He ended his speech by saying ‘Eat more curry, get more jobs, and let’s make England a deliciously better place’.
Indian cuisine has a great demand across Britain and most non-Indian chefs find it difficult to cater to the requests of Indian food lovers due to their inability and inefficiency in Indian cooking. This programme will facilitate Indian cookery skills amongst non-Indian Chefs within the UK, thus creating higher employment opportunities in the catering sector. This initiative will bolster the urgent requirement for Indian food chefs due to the much publicised immigration issues.
At the event, Chor Bizarre’s first apprentice, Ranbir, also addressed the esteemed audience by thanking the Asian Restaurant Skills Board, his colleagues and manager for supporting him to reach where he has at Chor Bizarre, building his confidence.