The Bangladeshi-born businessman has been recognised for his work as chair of The Asian Restaurants Skills Board, which helps raise the profile and prestige of high-end Asian cuisine.
“It’s a huge thrill receive this Honorary Doctorate from the University of West London,” said Wahhab. “I have enjoyed working with the Hospitality School in creating a new generation of chefs for the Asian restaurant sector and we have also been able to provide the University’s students with work placements at my restaurant, Roast.
“Students need employers and employers need new talent. It’s a fantastic meeting of needs and I am very pleased to have been part of a process that links education to employment.”
Having moved to Britain aged just eight months old, Iqbal set up his own PR firm in 1991, specialising in food, drink and restaurants. Three years later, he launched Tandoori Magazine which was sold in 2001 for the launch of Cinnamon Club. In 2005, Wahhab’s second restaurant, Roast, opened in Borough Market.
In his work with The Asian Restaurants Skills Board, Wahhab has helped boost jobs and skills opportunities in the sector through speciality courses and apprenticeships. He is also a sponsor of Kitchenette - an organisation which helps London’s most promising and original food entrepreneurs to get started - and sits on the Big Issue Invest and The Mayor’s Fund for London boards.
Earlier this year, Wahhab told BigHospitality he had put his Indian streetfood concept Moolis on the backburner while he looks to launch a new American concept in the capital.
“Moolis was a great product and we had a great following, but the configuration of that room in Frith Street was too small – it was not a good site to have started from,” he said.
“I’m talking to some people about some interesting things - I’ve been looking at doing something in the US space for some time and one of the new ventures will definitely be in that arena.”
Earlier in the year Wahhab was appointed as a non-executive director of gourmet fast food chain Wrap it Up! which operates 10 outlets across The City and Central London. He now wants to help expand the chain in the coming months and years, with more outlets in the capital and further afield.
Wahhab will receive his Doctorate at the University’s annual graduation ceremony, which will be held at London's Wembley Stadium later today (26 November).