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The Spice City Journal | February 26, 2018

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2016 December

The latest news for your enjoyment.

Blue Tiffin voted North West’s best curry house

December 6, 2016 | User

Blue Tiffin in Royton, Oldham has been named the best curry restaurant in the North West at the ‘Curry Oscars’.

The annual British Curry Awards took place this November at a lavish ceremony in London.

Prizes were handed out to nine regional winners with another four presented for categories including Best Newcomer and Best Takeaway Delivery Service. For the full list of winners visit

Restaurants are nominated by members of the public. In total, thirteen establishments picked up honours at the event, which took place at Battersea Evolution in London, on 28 November.

Founded by Enam Ali, the British Curry Awards celebrates its 12th anniversary this year.

The awards have become the most prestigious in the curry industry, garnering support from former Prime Minister David Cameron and Chef Heston Blumenthal.

heston-blumenthal-enam-ali-mbeBlumenthal, who was a guest this year, commented: “I’m very proud and lucky to be part of this event. The word ‘curry’ is so intertwined and embedded in our culture.”

The event was hosted by comedian Alistair McGowan and attended by TV celebrities including Colin Salmon and Saira Khan; MP Chris Grayling, and Great British Bake-Off semi-finalist Chetna Makan.

The event highlighted industry challenges such as the chef shortage, which around 90 per cent of curry restaurants face, leading to an average of two curry restaurant closures each week, reports The Caterer.

To combat this Ali announced he will open the Le Raj Academy, created in partnership with North East Surrey College of Technology in Epsom, which from 2017 will train chefs and front of house staff to become future stars.

The Blue Tiffin Restaurant, Bar and Entertainment Lounge opened in September 2004 and offers traditional classics and signature dishes incorporating Eastern flavours with a Western twist. It has become a favourite with locals in the Borough of Oldham. To find out more about the venue and view their menu visit

Welsh curry competition shows the country is in hot form

October 25, 2015 | User

If you’re looking for somewhere new for a curry adventure head to Wales – the annual Welsh Curry House of the Year competition shows there is plenty of rivalry and standards are high as restaurants vie for the crown.

This year was no different with a dead heat in North Wales showing that competition is tight.

The contest is now in its ninth year with voting numbers rising – this year nearly 18,000 people across Wales chose their favourite curry house and in April award organisers Welsh Curry announced the TOP 30. They said: “There was a significant change in the Mid & West Region – we received a record number of votes. It clearly demonstrated that the up rise of curry in the rural heartland areas of Wales has gained further momentum”.

The process of judging the Curry Chef competition was given a new twist for 2015. Chefs from the TOP 30 restaurants were invited to compete at catering colleges up and down the country, with regional heats held at Port Talbot/Neath, Newtown and Colwyn Bay. The ‘Curry Wars’ were filmed live for the BBC and televised in September. You can see the chefs do battle under the watchful eyes of judges Nerys Howell, Chef Raj and Chef Anand George at

Independent regional judges visited the 30 restaurants as “mystery diners” to judge them on extensive criteria detailed on a scorecard. This year a dead-heat in North Wales between Maahis in Wrexham and the eventual overall Welsh winners Abul’s Spice proved especially challenging to call. But whilst the regional draw stood, it was Abul’s Welsh Lamb dish that stood out to earn the business the title of Welsh Curry House of the Year 2015.

“The judges were impressed with the way Abul’s Spice prepared and cooked their Welsh Lamb dish. The whole lamb was presented then carved offering a unique opportunity to combine the sweet taste of the lamb with authentic Indian spices” said Niaz Taj, the competition’s producer.

“The judges were confident that any discerning curry lover would enjoy visiting Abul’s Spice in Corwen and would be marking time before they made a return visit.”

Chef Pramod Nair from Chaiholics in Cardiff won the title of Welsh Curry Chef of the Year 2015 after winning regional heats and a final cook-off against curry chefs from all over Wales.

“We are delighted to have chosen Chef Pramod Nair as the winner of The Welsh Curry Chef of the Year 2015 – the people of Wales are blessed with outstanding talent in the Curry Industry but of course we must strive for more. It’s important that the Curry Industry gives time to creating home-grown talent without losing the essence of the Indian Sub-Continent – it was a tough challenge for all our curry chefs this year with Regional & a Final cook off in catering colleges all over Wales” said Chair Nerys Howells of Howel Food Consultancy.

The judges were also reminded about the impact a successful restaurant can have as part of the wider economy and the surrounding rural community. “It felt like the whole community of Cowen were stakeholders in the restaurant including the local farmer, fellow businesses and very happy diners” added the producer.

“We have over 400 Indian restaurants in Wales and to make the final three is a huge achievement. We received nearly 18,000 votes this year confirming that the people of Wales continue to be passionate about Indian cuisine and have a huge affection for their local Indian restaurant.”

The winner was announced by TV Weathergirl Sian Lloyd at a glittering awards show at Venue Cymru in Llandudno in June.
“I do love a good curry. I was delighted to host an event where it’s the Welsh public whose votes starts the process of finding the best curry house in Wales each year. This was my first year as a National Judge and it was an amazing experience with a three day Curry Road Trip. The competition illustrates the strength of our love as a nation for Curry” said Sian Lloyd.

Curry Roadshow tackles issues threatening industry

October 16, 2015 | User

Everyone has a favourite ‘curry house’ and Curry is one of Britain’s most loved foods best demonstrated this week with the celebration of ‘National Curry Week’.

Currently it is a huge industry, generating over £4.1 billion for the economy with over 12,000 outlets in the UK. Yet the industry is struggling to survive.

A group of around 200 curry houses and businesses came together within the NORTH WEST ENGLAND REGION to discuss the slow death of the curry house in Britain, this week.

The final regional Roadshow of ‘The Catering Circle’ took place at the Eastern Pavilion Banqueting Hall in Oldham and featured eminent speakers from the Catering Sector and Channel S TV. The event looked at how ‘Curry’ has become an integral part of British culture, yet the Curry Industry faces an epidemic crisis – threatened with lack of chefs, staff shortages, tax rises, escalating business costs and the emergence of technology, resulting in the potential death of the traditional curry house.

Experts spoke across a number of fields, advising business owners on a whole range of subjects from immigration, the legal sector, food safety, food allergens, health & safety, branding & marketing, technology and unity & collaboration within the catering industry.

The final Roadshow in OLDHAM will be followed by a Grand Finale in London in early 2016 and a live TV programme exploring the burning issues within the curry industry will air soon after. The show called ‘The Catering Circle’ is due to be broadcast in 2016 on one of the UK’s leading TV Channels dedicated to the Bangladeshi community- Channel S (Sky 814) in association with Purple-I Technologies.

For more information please see or call 0845 388 7867 0845 388 7867

Catering Circle Roadshow invites curry houses to address industry crisis

October 1, 2015 | User

A TV roadshow coming to Oldham this October is asking curry houses across the region to join a discussion looking at what can be done to solve the curry crisis.

Despite enjoying status as one of Britain’s ‘most loved’ foods and generating around £4.1 billion for the economy, the curry industry is in danger of decline if a number of endemic issues cannot be resolved.

Representatives from around 200 curry houses and businesses from the North West are expected to come together to address what The Catering Circle describes as the ‘slow death of the curry house in Britain’, on Tuesday 13 October 2015, from 12noon until 3pm.

The Roadshow of The Catering Circle will take place at the Eastern Pavilion Banqueting Hall, Featherstall Road South, Oldham, OL9 6HL and will feature eminent speakers from the catering sector and Channel S TV.

The show has already visited a number of towns across the UK, inviting industry figures and business leaders to join in the discussion.

The event will look at how curry has become an integral part of British culture, yet the survival of the curry industry is threatened with a lack of chefs, staff shortages, tax rises, escalating business costs and an inability to adapt to emerging technology.

Experts will speak across a number of fields, advising business owners on a whole range of subjects – from immigration and the legal sector, to embracing technology and keeping up to date with accounts. They will encourage the audience to explore ways to sustain their business and provide solutions for longevity within the industry.

Mr Ahmed us Samad Chowdhury JP, Chairman of Channel S and Chief Adviser for The Catering Circle said: “Bangladeshis have been at the forefront of contributing to British society by creating this vibrant industry – curry has gone on to become one of Britain’s most loved cuisines. With many Bangladeshis arriving in Britain in the1950s the curry house has been the first stepping stone in building their futures and that of their children in Britain. It now stands as a symbol of pride in their history and heritage. Yet it is dying and we need to take steps to save it”.

The Oldham Roadshow will be followed by a live TV programme exploring the hot topics within the curry industry. The show, called ‘The Catering Circle’, is due to be broadcast early next year on one of the UK’s leading TV Channels dedicated to the Bangladeshi community – Channel S (Sky 814) in association with Purple-I Technologies.

For more information or to register to attend visit, or call 0845 388 7867.

Curry stars of England celebrate

September 3, 2015 | User

The Curry Industry celebrated its culinary stars for 2015 at the fifth annual English Curry Awards at a ceremony in Manchester, home to the famous Curry Mile.

More than 350 curry heroes gathered at Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel on 31 August and went head-to-head to take home the prized industry accolades.

Entries for 45 categories came in from all over England with favourite chefs, restaurants and catering teams vying for a nod at the prestigious awards.

The black tie event was hosted by award winning comedian and actor, Mani Liaqat, and guests were treated to a special performance of a Bollywood ballet by Desi Nach.

As well as celebrating the curry industry, the event raised funds for the official charity partner the Amir Khan Foundation.

The curry sector continues to thrive, but is desperately in need of skilled chefs and workers. Every year the English Curry Awards mark the significant contribution the Curry Industry makes to the economy – over £3.5 billion – and its impact on the cultural landscape of Britain. The audience gathered represented those working in the sector who deserve recognition.

“To be amongst such passionate people who love what they do is truly inspiring. It was a fantastic evening and I would like to thank everyone for attending. Congratulations to all the winners and the finalists.” commented Yasmin Mahmood, Operations Director of event organisers Oceanic Consulting.

Guests enjoyed a towering banquet as the award winners were announced.

Media partners supporting the event included Probash Bangla, Oldham Voice and Spice City Journal (pictured).


Curry Lover of the Year went to Vicki Wallace (Bradford Beating Diabetes)

Healthy Curry Provider went to Spicy Mint (Manchester)

Best Marketing Campaign went to Anoki (Derby)

Best Restaurant Design went to Tipu Sultan (Birmingham)

Maitre D’ of the Year went to Mahmudur Rahman (Delhi 6, Birmingham)

Caterer of the Year went to Greenleaf Catering and Events Management (Southall)

New Restaurant of the Year went to Shimla Spice (Burnley)

Best of Manchester went to Forts of India

Best of Birmingham also went to Tipu Sultan

Curry King 2015 went to Faisal Hussain (Shimla Spice)

Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jindy Khera (KTC Edibles)


(This category was split into three regions, with regional winners and one overall winner)

Chef of the Year overall went to Jamie Palmer (Indian Express, Preston).

North Winner: Jamie Palmer (Indian Express, Preston)

Midlands Winner: Shamin Shaikh (Mama’s Masala, Derby)

South Winner: Alun Sterring (The Chilli Pickle, Brighton)


(The below category was split into nine regions, with regional winners and one overall winner)

Team /Service of the Year went to Jai Ho (Horley).

North East Winner: Jaipur Exclusive Indian Takeaway (Newcastle upon Tyne).

North West Winner: Indian Ocean (Ashton-under-Lyne).

Yorkshire Winner: Bombay Spice (York)

East Midlands Winner: The Curry Fever (Leicester)

West Midlands Winner: Pushkar Cocktail Bar & Dining (Birmingham)

East Winner: Pride of Sylhet (Essex)

South East Winner: Jai Ho (Horley)

South West Winner: Old India (Bristol)

London Winner: Rasoi by Vineet Bhatia (London)


(The below category was split into nine regions, with regional winners and one overall winner)

Takeaway of the Year overall went to Masalas (Leicester).

North East Winner: Jaipur Exclusive Indian Takeaway (Newcastle upon Tyne).

North West Winner: Indian Express (Preston)

Yorkshire Winner: Cafe Masala (Sheffield)

East Midlands Winner: Masalas (Leicester)

West Midlands Winner: Mango Tree (Nuneaton)

East Winner: Masterchef Indian Takeaway (Luton)

South East Winner: Masala Bay (Herne Bay)

South West Winner: Papa Raj (Plymouth)

London Winner: K2 Indian Takeaway (London)


(The below category was split into nine regions, with regional winners and one overall winner)

Restaurant of the Year overall went to Gurkha One (Nottingham)

North East Winner: Cinnamon Spice Club (Durham)

North West Winner: Aroma Asian Restaurant (Burnley)

Yorkshire Winner: Shimla Spice (Shipley)

East Midlands Winner: Gurkha One (Nottingham)

West Midlands Winner: The Pabna (Leek)

East Winner: Zara Indian Cuisine (Cambridge)

South East Winner: Jai Ho (Horley)

South West Winner: Rajpoot (Bath)

London Winner: Monkey Temple (London)

Voting for fifth Asian Curry Awards closes 30 September

August 26, 2015 | User

Curry lovers still have time to vote for their favourite Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Malaysian restaurants and chefs in the Asian Curry Awards.

The finalists will be announced at a special networking lunch in the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons on October 12th.

The Parliamentary lunch follows a live cook off competition and chefs workshop being held in the Pillars Kitchen at the University of West London in Ealing on October.

The cook off will determine the winners of the Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year and the Young Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year (under 30) categories.

Asian Curry Awards chairman, Yawar Khan, said: “Ultimately, the winners will be decided buy a team of judges led by Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide, but the shortlist will be determined by votes from members of the public – there’s very little daylight between them with everything still to play for.”

The full list of national award categories is:
• Best Asian Restaurant of the Year
• Best East Asian Takeaway/Delivery of the Year
• Best South Asian Takeaway/Delivery of the Year
• Newcomer of the Year (restaurants established less than 3 years)
• Best Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year (International)
• Young Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year (under 30)
• East Asian Restaurant of the Year
• Best International Asian Restaurant
• Lifetime Achievement Award

There are also 10 regional awards for the Best South Asian restaurants in London, London suburbs, South East, South West, East, South Coast, North, Midlands, Wales and Scotland & Northern Ireland.
Vote online via

Safeguard Fusion Training Centre aims to promote healthy cooking

August 26, 2015 | User

Greater Manchester & Oldham
A fantastic new training facility launched in Oldham this month will give more people from the region the opportunity to train in catering and hospitality.

The Safeguard Fusion Training Centre was opened on Monday 10 August by local businessman ‪and ‬Oldham philanthropist Norman Stoller CBE along with charity fundraiser Nick Hopkinson MBE. The centre promises to be a great facility for the borough, and will offer another route into catering with training courses delivered by Ben Ingham in partnership with Afruj Choudhury who heads up Stirring Flavours.

The industry is crying out for talent as news of chef shortages in the restaurant sector – particularly the curry industry – make the headlines once more.

SFTLtd is the brainchild of Ben Ingham, chef Afruj Chowdhury and Safeguard Group’s PR and media person Deb Troops. It offers a new approach for people who want to learn how to cook healthy food, share their passion and maybe turn it into a career.

Soldiers square off in Albert Square curry challenge

August 26, 2015 | User

29 August 2015, Town Hall, Albert Square, M2 5PD, 09:00 – 13:00

This August, three teams of army chefs will compete to make the best curry, and the audience get to decide who wins!

ABF, The Soldier’s Charity, will set up three army field kitchens in the Town Hall before The Lord Mayor issues the “Ready, Steady, Cook” order at 9am.

Each team will have until lunchtime to finish their dish, at which point visitors will be able to sample each of the three curries and vote for their favourite. The winner will be crowned the “King of the Curries”.

Whilst waiting, you can visit the army stands that will be on display, as well as the Bosch Demonstration Kitchen. Come along, see the teams in action and show your support for the ABF.

For more information on the ABF charity, visit their Facebook page at


Capital’s restaurants need hygiene makeover

May 18, 2015 | User

TWO-HUNDRED and seventeen premises, including bars, cafes, food stores and restaurants in London have been warned to clean up their act after receiving ‘zero’ rating for food hygiene.

London food businesses, like everywhere else in the UK, are monitored closely by the Food Standards Agency to maintain or improve hygiene standards. This protects the consumer from potential food poisoning or other illness passed on through bad hygiene. It can also benefit the local economy through tourism; for instance, if a town or city has a strong reputation for food services and products then it may attract more visitors.

Consumer magazine Which? found six London boroughs scored the lowest in food hygiene (as of February 2015), including Lewisham, Ealing, Harrow, Camden and Brent.

Enfield was the worst, reports DESIblitz, with only 54.1 per cent rate of compliance for 2,468 premises.

For the full list of food businesses in London rated ‘zero’ visit:

Manchester Super Store Group win prestigious BBC food award

May 18, 2015 | User

Abdul Ghafoor who founded the Manchester Super Stores in Manchester nearly 25 years ago has received national recognition.

His fast-growing chain of supermarkets sell produce and products from around the world and are likened to an Aladdin’s Cave of Food.

The Manchester Super Store Group’s Liverpool store on Lodge Lane in Toxteth has won the prestigious BBC Food & Farming Award for 2015 in the category of ‘Food Retailer of the Year’.

The store and their team was praised for the way it had brought together a diverse community, in a once challenging area, by providing a colourful shopping experience with goods on offer from around the globe.

Toxteth has struggled to shake off the image of violence created by the riots that made this area of Liverpool notorious over thirty years ago, so it makes the achievement all the more impressive, suggests Diana Henry in the Telegraph.

Yet Ghafoor – a one-time milkman from Rochdale – takes huge pride in sourcing his global produce for the diverse local community. “I have everything here that everyone local needs,” he told Henry for her article; so much so that the store is locally nicknamed ‘the United Nations’.

As a place where they sell everything from Egyptian mulberry syrup and nearly forty kinds of lentil to Afghan rice and every kind of cooking oil, attracting Jamaicans, Indians, Africans, Poles and Irish – it is easy to see how it got this name.

Manchester Super Stores has seven stores in Greater Manchester with another three scattered throughout the North of England. They are the largest ethnic supermarket chain in the North, and growing.

Source: The Telegraph and BBC News