Home / Business / British Curry Awards 2015 in association with Kukd.com honours excellence in The UK Curry Industry

British Curry Awards 2015 in association with Kukd.com honours excellence in The UK Curry Industry

50Benchmark award ceremony pays homage to the unsung heroes behind the UK’s favourite dish as industry faces continued challenges

The UK’s favourite cuisine will once again be celebrated at the 11th, annual British Curry Awards in association with Kukd.com on Monday 30th November at Battersea Evolution, London. The industry at large, foodies, celebrities, MP’s and dignitaries will collectively pay homage to the nation’s finest curry restaurants at one of the most lauded events of the UK hospitality sector.

The curry industry has embedded itself in the social, cultural and culinary fabric of the UK, with approximately 25million curries being consumed each week. As a result, British Curry Awards has become a key fixture on the UK social calendar, lauded as a national institution in its own right as the first and landmark event to celebrate the industry’s achievements.

The nomination process invites members of the public to nominate their favourite curry restaurant for a deserving accolade. This year, a phenomenal 218,000 public nominations have been received via post, app and online, from diners nominating their favourite curry restaurants, with 2,459 restaurants being nominated. Each year British Curry Awards also presents the Special Recognition Award to an influential culinary personality, with past winners including industry heavyweights such as Atul Kochar. Madhur Jaffrey, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Anjum Anand and Heston Blumenthal OBE.

British Curry Awards 2015 continues to honour the achievements of the nation’s most popular culinary genre in the face of increasing operational challenges. 90 per cent of the UK curry industry’s 12,000 restaurants are currently affected by the ongoing and crippling shortage of chefs, which is seeing an average of two curry restaurant closures each week. The industry is worth £4.2bn and employs more than 100,000 staff in the UK, creating a problem of major economic significance. Without drastically needed change, curry restaurants will be eroded from British life in the same way that local pubs continue to be.

The primary contributing factor to the crisis is the government’s immigration policy, which requires skilled workers from outside the EU to earn £29,570, while curry chef salaries are typically closer to £25,000. Visa applications are often refused and the shortages are the main reason why two curry restaurants are closing every week.

British Curry Awards founder, restaurateur and editor of trade publication, Spice Business, Enam Ali MBE has been promoting the British curry industry globally for the past 30 years and has been lobbying the UK government to implement a major review as current legislation continues to impact the industry. He says: “The UK curry industry continues to contribute a phenomenal amount to the UK economy despite the challenges it still faces due to staffing issues derived from immigration policy. But as Prime Minister David Cameron himself addressed at British Curry Awards in 2013, he recognises the commitment that needs to be made to this lucrative industry in the face of adversity.”

A solution would be the introduction of short-term work visas for experienced staff from the Subcontinent to plug the curry chef shortage that is forcing closures across the country. Enam Ali MBE continues, “We urge the Government to help our industry and we strongly recommend that the immigration laws covering bringing in chefs from abroad be made, even on a temporary basis, more adequately flexible. One suggestion would be short-term visas, similar to Germany, the US and the Middle East, where they have to leave the country after their term. There would be no burden at all on the welfare system or the taxpayers.”

Acknowledging the crisis, Prime Minister David Cameron said at British Curry Awards in 2013, “There have been questions on immigration and getting chefs with the necessary experience. We will continue to help you get the skilled Asian chefs you need.”

Recognising the socio-economic impact of the curry industry on life in Britain, in attendance at British Curry Awards last year, Home Secretary, Teresa May MP, herself said, “The British curry industry really is one of Britain’s greatest success stories. From that first curry house two hundred years ago has sprung a multi billion pound industry, which is modern, successful and thriving. Through hard work and innovation, you’ve built a vibrant industry, which generates wealth, promotes growth and employs tens of thousands of people.”

In relation to their Headline Sponsorship of British Curry Awards 2015, Shelim Hussain MBE, Founder, Kukd.com says, ““It is a great honour to be a part of the original and benchmark award ceremony that was established to celebrate the achievements of such an integral and significant industry within the UK. British Curry Awards has set a precedent in the industry and we are proud of the association.”