The Asian Junior Chefs Challenge, which is backed by the Master Chefs of Great Britain, was launched at Todiwala’s London restaurant Café Spice Namaste on Monday and is designed to complement the efforts of the Asian and Oriental Centres of Excellence, launched last year to help resolve the sector’s growing recruitment problem.
Although a report to the Home Office last Friday advised them to allow skilled chefs from outside the EU to continue to work in the UK, the £2.5bn Asian food sector is concerned about its future and finding staff with the right skills should immigration laws change again.
Todiwala said efforts needed to be made to help secure the future of the industry and encouraged chefs to take part, claiming that any British chef who decided to train in Asian cuisine would be ‘worth his or her weight in gold’ in the future.
“Asian cuisine is a great career for any chef. And the British people have always been so good at adapting and innovating and being pragmatic,” he said.
“The world is turning eastward. I predict it’s only a matter of time before British chefs preparing truly authentic Asian food using real Asian techniques give their best Asian counterparts a run for their money.”
Clive Roberts, chairman of the The Master Chefs of Great Britain and chef-patron of the Old Forge Restaurant in West Sussex, explained why the association was backing the initiative.
He said: “The Asian restaurant and food industry is part and parcel of what makes Britain great today. As a professional association for chefs, we can’t stand back and not do our bit to ensure that going into the future there are enough chefs to cook one of Britain’s favourite cuisines.”
The Asian Junior Chefs Challenge is open to catering students at college in the UK who will be asked to form teams of three. Each team will be expected to demonstrate their technical expertise, creativity, knowledge and appreciation of Asian cuisine by preparing a 4-course authentic Pan Asian meal for judges.
For more information on how to enter The Asian Junior Chefs Challenge, email Sue McGeever at The Master Chefs of Great Britain at firstname.lastname@example.org.