“BCA Awards inspire both our
chefs and restaurants to keep
Being a Chef and an entrepreneur is in my blood. I opened my first restaurant at 17 with the help of my father and that restaurant was called Tandoori Knight. At the age of 23, I opened Kismet – which means destiny. Now as the newly elected Secretary General, it again feels like my destiny again and I am very proud to be working for the curry industry. As BCA members we all share a common thread with the food we create, as the Sylhet region of Bangladesh is the ancestral home of around 80% of our British curry chefs, and I believed like every BCA member – that curry houses would be one of the great success stories of the restaurant industry in Britain. Yet, today our curry houses and industry is in crisis; we are critically short of the skilled chefs and as a result three to four curry houses are closing down a week across many towns and cities in Britain. The real blow came when a harsh new politics of immigration was enforced, making it harder for skilled south Asian chefs to work here. Now, since the Brexit vote, we have been further hurt by rises in rents, rates and food prices. While in our families who help run our businesses, we find that our younger generations have moved away from catering to jobs outside this sector. At BCA, we have continuously warned the mainstream media and government that if nothing is done to support this industry, then as many as a third of the UK’s curry houses will close over the next five years. During these uncertain political times and with the Brexit negotiations underway, it is more
important than ever before to ensure that we get our message across to those that matter, and BCA Awards is the strongest way to do so; it not only acknowledges the successes of this industry, but also provides a powerful voice for our industry to lobby government. As many of you may know, I am a firm believer in pushing our message across social media and the mainstream media; and I will continue to keep pushing our agendas forward. This is my passion! BCA Awards are highly-regarded, unique and a stamp of recognition and I want to thank our sponsors, media partners and MPs for their continued support. They are part of this success. People in the UK want our food and BCA Awards inspire both our chefs and restaurants to keep evolving. These winners represent a great British success story – a determined industry that creates jobs, promotes growthand contributes to the UK economy. Tonight we will reward and acknowledge this industry’s local heroes. We will celebrate their talent, hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. Curry is Britain’s national dish, it is this country’s DNA and BCA has an important role to play. Our Awards celebrate the great British curry story; we have all come together over the love of British curry. Our industry welcomes everybody. This is British curry.