UK’s most reputed Asian restaurants win curry accolades at the 8th annual British Curry Awards

The British Curry Awards pave the way for Asian female entrants in the curry industry

The UK’sglitterati dazzled at one of the largest celebrations of the £3.6bn curry industry in the UK, the British Curry Awards, which took place on Monday, 26th November at Battersea Evolution in London.

The event was organised by one of the leading influencers within the curry industry, Mr Enam Ali MBE, and co-hosted by ex-Royal Correspondent Jenny Bond (who drove 220 miles through the Devonshire floods to attend the event) and Comedian and renowned celebrity impersonator Rory Bremner.

Attendees included hundreds of leading restaurateurs, business owners, politicians and celebrities including Chris Grayling MP, Nigel Farage MEP & UKIP Party Leader, Dragons Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, International Journalist & Broadcaster Rageh Omar, Game-Show Host Roy Walker, LBC 97.3 broadcaster James Whale, Actors Shane Richie and James Cosmo and an array of other luminaries.

With the UK curry industry boasting 10,000 restaurants and 80,000 employees, the British Curry Awards has been lauded as a pivotal UK institution, with Prime Minister David Cameron calling the awards ‘the Curry Oscars’.

The evening began with Prime Minister David Cameron addressing the audience via a poignant video message: “It is often said that curry is Britain national dish – and it’s easy to see why. It’s not just the flavours served up in the thousands of curry restaurants across the country, it is the welcome too. Those who work in the curry industry enliven Britain’s high streets, boost local economies and contribute to local communities.”

From an amazing 270,000 public nominations, each category was awarded a winner, and where appropriate a best newcomer. The full list of the night’s winners can be seen below:

  • Best Restaurant Scotland – TAJ INDIAN (Prestwick)
  • Best Restaurant North East – AAGRAH (Leeds)
  • Best Spice Restaurant North West – INDIAN OCEAN (Ashton-u-Lyne)
  • Best Spice Restaurant Midlands – ITIHAAS (Birmingham)
  • Best Newcomer Restaurant Midlands – FIVE RIVERS A LA CARTE (Walsall)
  • Best Restaurant Wales – RASOI INDIAN KITCHEN (Swansea)
  • Best Restaurant South East – HAWELI INDIAN RESTAURANT (Twyford, Berkshire)
  • Best Newcomer Restaurant South East – SHAMPAN 4 – THE SPINNING WHEEL (Westerham, Kent)
  • Best Restaurant South West – SPICE LODGE (Cheltenham)
  • Best Restaurant South West – THE MINT ROOM (Yeovil, Somerset)
  • Best Restaurant Central London & City – BOMBAY PALACE (Paddington)
  • Best Newcomer Restaurant Central London & City – CHAKRA (Notting Hill)
  • Best Restaurant London Suburbs – CHAK 89 (Surrey)
  • Best in Casual Dining – THE CHILLI PICKLE (Brighton, East Sussex)

It is stated that an Indian meal is now the preferred choice of take-away amongst the British population, and has overtaken previous favourites such as Chinese and Italian take-away food. To reflect this, a new award category of Best Delivery Restaurant / Takeaway was added this year, in association with Just Eat, the online takeaway ordering service. This esteemed award was presented to Mushtaqs Indian Restaurant in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Each year the British Curry Awards also gives the Special Recognition Achievement Award to an influential culinary personality and past winners of this award include Madhur Jaffrey, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Anjum Anand, Heston Blumenthal OBE and Shelim Hussain MBE. This year the award was presented by Enam Ali MBE, Jenny Bond and MP Francis Maude to Ms. Dipna Anand, for her professional successes in the catering industry. In her speech Ms Anand encouraged other women to follow in her footsteps. “I love what I do and hope I can inspire more women to be a part of this industry; this is such a satisfying moment for me, what an unexpected honour!”

Speaking about the successes of the night, British entrepreneur and Founder of the event Enam Ali MBE says: I am deeply overwhelmed by the success of this year’s event and the response we received from the thousands of individuals who put forth their favourite restaurants for awards across the nation. This year we received a record number of nominations which is testament to the fact that curry is not only a lucrative mainstay of the economy but also an integral part of the nation’s social and culinary fabric.

Despite the economic downturn and the tightening of international immigration policies which has impacted our industry considerably, Britain’s £3.6bn curry industry is definitely here to stay.

Whilst we celebrate the outstanding achievements of Asian restaurant proprietors across the UK, the British Curry Awards also aims to bring attention to the next generation of restaurateurs and culinary influencers who will shape the cuisine in years to come. One issue we have aimed to highlight is the lack of Asian women in the curry industry and how there is a gender divide in restaurant kitchens which is considerably male dominated. This year we awarded a very deserving individual on her work in raising the profile of curry in the UK. We very much look forward to receiving many more nominations from the public putting forward their favourite female Asian culinary experts.”