The Conservative party leader David Cameron has praised Britain’s curry restaurants for demonstrating what can be achieved when communities collaborate.
Speaking at the 2009 British Curry Awards, held at Battersea Park’s Evolution Centre, special guest Cameron said the British curry industry is a ‘great success story’.
“It’s shown how people from all backgrounds, with different creeds and cultures, can come together as one,” he said. “And it’s shown exactly what an open-minded, dynamic and enterprising country can achieve. Everyone here this evening should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Known as the ‘Oscars’ of Britain’s spice industry, the British Curry Awards recognise the accomplishments of curry restaurants across the UK. Judges, which included a selection of journalists, food writers and celebrity chefs, said standards were higher than ever, as a record number of nominations were received.
As such, a number of new awards were introduced this year, alongside those given for the best restaurant in nine of the UK’s regions. London’s Tayyabs was named the Best Casual Dining restaurant, while Vivek Singh’s Cinnamon Kitchen & Anise , also in London, won the Newcomer of the Year Award. Sanjay Anand of Madhu’s , was also awarded a special recognition for Catering.
Enam Ali, founder and organiser of the British Curry Aards, took the opportunity to appeal for help from politicians to address the skills shortage in the curry restaurant industry. “We are not looking for favours, but fairness and common sense,” he said.
The winners of the 2009 British Curry Awards are:
Scotland/ Northern Ireland - Cinnamon, Aberdeen
North East - Aagrah, Garforth, Leeds
North West - Indian Ocean, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire
Midlands - Lasan, Birmingham
Wales - Bokhara Brasserie, Bridgend
South East - Jaipur, Milton Keynes
South West - Rajpoot, Bath
London Central & City - Bombay Brasserie, London SW7
London Suburbs - Brilliant Restaurant, Southall
Best Casual Dining - Tayyabs, London
Newcomer of the Year - Cinnamon Kitchen & Anise, London