The heat was turned up when the battle to find Britain’s best curry was hosted at Cambridge Regional College.
Nine of the finest regional chefs went head to head in the contest which was filmed for a cookery show on Channel S, a popular UK-based TV channel targeting the British Bangladeshi community.
Among the judging panel was Head of Department for Catering and Hospitality, Graham Taylor, who helped pick winners for the Asian Restaurant and Take Away Awards 2019, known as ARTA.
Graham said: “It is a great honour to host these prestigious awards for the second year with some of the finest curry chefs in the country. We all learn from each other on the day too which is brilliant.”
Mohammed Munim is the founder of the ARTA contest, where around 2,400 businesses are nominated by customers. Judges choose the best contestants to compete in regional finals, such as the eastern one at Cambridge Regional College.
Judges then pick the national winners from the regional heats by looking for fine cuisine, creativity, quality food, quality customer service, and great value for money.
Contestants are given 45 minutes to create a balanced meal which is given the taste-test by judges.
Invited to watch the culinary talent in action, were winners from 2018, including local curry master, Kosru Miah, of the Curry Palace in Cottenham. He said: “When we won this competition last year our telephones went crazy. Customers were having to book two months in advance and people came from as far away as London, Leicester, and Ipswich to come and eat at our restaurant!”
Mushfiqur Rahman, of Bhaijaans restaurant in Sutton Coldfield, who won Chef of the Year 2018, was invited to watch the 2019 contestants create their dishes. He said: “It’s a great honour to be part of the contest t find Britain’s best curry. There is tough competition out there. These chefs come from all over the country and are the best of the best!”
Mushfiqur added that a good chef will never stop learning and said curry fans cooking their own dishes at home should always use the best quality ingredients, buy whole spices from a local Asian supermarket, and never be tempted to take short cuts.