The British Curry Awards

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The British Curry Awards is an annual awards dinner dedicated to the British Curry Industry. It was established in 2005 by Enam Ali MBE. The stated aims were to recognise the unsung heroes of the curry business, to promote the curry industry and to encourage the younger generation to follow in their elders’ footsteps. It is now undisputedly the biggest awards ceremony in this sector, widely referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the industry, with over 1200 guests attending the event in 2010. High level political figures have come to address the Awards, including the Rt. Hon David Cameron MP, who gave the keynote speech in 2009. The concept of the “British Curry” is now so well established that it is possible to forget the opposition encountered before the first awards in 2005. There were a lot of people who objected, believing that this was an ‘Indian’ or ‘Bangladeshi’ only product. Enam Ali had to spend a considerable sum of his own money to fight legal battles against those who objected on British Curry and after 4 years legal battle he won these cases.

History[edit]

Enam Ali MBE is a British Bangladeshi who established Le Raj restaurant in Epsom Downs in 1989. He was made MBE in Queen's New Year's Honours.Enam Ali is to be made a Freeman of the City of London in recognition of his contribution to the hospitality industry who owns the highly-acclaimed Le Raj restaurant in Epsom and founder of the British Curry Awards, received the honour at the Guildhall, London, Monday 31 October 2011. He was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife Ruby, daughter Justine and sons Jeffrey and Jahid. Being granted the Freedom of the City of London is the second major honour. In 1998, he launched Spice Business Magazine which combines news about the spice restaurant industry with developments in the British Bangladeshi community. Enam Ali recognised that it was not widely known that the majority of the UK's 'Indian' restaurants, turning over £3.5 billion yearly and directly employing 100,000 people, were owned and run by people of Bangladeshi origin. As a result, in November 1994, the Dine Bangladeshi campaign was officially launched. Later it was formed into the trade association the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The aim was to ensure that British Bangladeshis were correctly credited for their contribution to the UK economy and also that they warranted a voice at the decision-making level. Taking this initiative a step further, Mr. Ali founded the British Curry Awards in 2005 in order to raise the profile of this business and highlight some of the key issues facing the industry.

The Awards are based on members of the public nominating their favourite spice restaurant, i.e. those serving Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Nepalese cuisine. In 2010, over 67,000 consumer votes were received for curry restaurants across the country. After much deliberation, interviews, ‘mystery shopper’ visits and poring over the criteria submission forms, the judging panel eventually came up with the top 100 curry restaurants. These top 100 curry restaurants in the country were then further inspected to arrive at the best ten regionally, with awards covering Scotland, the North-East, the North-West, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, Wales, the South-East, the South-West, London Central & City and London Suburbs. There was a further award for best newcomer of the year. These eleven restaurants were presented with British Curry Awards trophies at the event at the Grosvenor House Hotel in November 2010. The British Curry Awards aims to ensure that a high level of transparency and integrity is employed in the voting. The judging process is further enhanced by having an eminent final judging panel. Judges have included well-known food critics journalists, Peter Grove, Clive Woodbridge, representatives of the industry body, La Confrérie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, President Great Britain Restaurant Association Robert Walton, celebrity chefs Toby Tobin and Anjum Anand and Radio personality James Whale.

The British Curry Awards Night[edit]

The production values and event direction is led by an internationally experienced Awards co-ordination team and the programme for the evening includes a champagne reception, dinner, the Awards presentations, live entertainment and a Winners’ Enclosure with champagne bar and exclusive press area. In addition to the 11 aforementioned awards, there are also special awards, including the personality of the year, which has been won by various well known figures including Madhur Jaffrey, and lifetime achievement. In 2010, there was also a special award given to Heston Blumenthal for his achievement inspiring a new generation of UK chefs. The audience comprises restaurateurs, celebrities, MPs, ambassadors, media and leading figures in the hospitality sector. The event has been shown on ITN, BBC World, BBC2, Sky, ATN, Channel One, Star Plus, Zee TV and others and is also covered by national, local and international newspapers. In total, The British Curry Awards receive coverage in 127 different countries. The event has also helped raise significant sums of money for various charities, including the Anthony Nolan Trust, Just a Drop, Bangladesh Flood Appeal, James Whale Fund, The Lord’s Taverners, and Help A London Child. Previous Best in the London Central & City Winners:

  • 2005 - Tamarind
  • 2006 - Tamarind
  • 2007 – La Porte Des Indes
  • 2008 - Tamarind
  • 2009 – Bombay Brasserie
  • 2010 – Bombay Brasserie
  • 2011 - Tamarind
  • 2012 - Bombay Place
  • 2013 - Benares Restaurant
  • 2014 - Cinamon Club

The British Curry Awards also have a category for best newcomer and Shampan at the Spinning Wheel[1] was the winner of this in 2012 and 2013.

British Curry Awards footage[edit]

References[edit]