By Swati Chauhan

The 10th annual British Curry Awards or ‘Curry Oscars’ as Prime Minister David Cameron describes them, were celebrated with much grandiose and fervour at the Battersea Evolution Park in London on 1st December in association with lead sponsors Just Eat. The awards are deemed as a key event in the British gastronomic calendar and a celebration that recognizes the contribution and efforts of the curry industry including its 10,000 + restaurants and 80,000+ employees accounting for three and a half billion pounds worth of turnover.

DSC_8685The Awards were initially established by entrepreneur and restaurateur Enam Ali MBE in 2005. This year’s competition attracted 206,378 public nominations, with 2,641 restaurants nominated.

The industry at large, foodies, celebrities, MP’s and dignitaries together paid homage to the nation’s finest curry restaurants.

Notable celebrities at the awards included Chief Guest, Rt Hon Teresa May MP, Home Secretary; business figure, Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman, UB Group; MP’s Chris Grayling, Andrew Rosindell, Nicky Morgan, Keith Vaz; footballer David Seaman MBE; Paralympian David Weir CBE; broadcasters Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Maxine Mawhinney, Rageh Omaar; actors Adil Ray, Shobu Kapoor, Shobna Gulati; Sgt Johnson Beharry; TV presenters Lizzie Cundy and Pat Sharp; Nancy Dell’Olio; Neil and Christine Hamilton. The event hosts were broadcasters Kate Silverton and Hardeep Kohli.

In a special video message played at the event, honourable Prime Minister David Cameron lauded the awards saying   “Britain’s curry industry isn’t just a great example of the incredible contribution of our Asian communities.  The way curry is loved by everyone is a great example of our whole country coming together. You can see it from the Balti Triangle in Birmingham to Manchester’s Curry Mile, From London’s Bricklane to Bradford recently crowned our Curry Capital. Curry is one of our country’s great achievements. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to pay tribute to all that you’ve achieved.

Rt Hon Teresa May MPHis appreciation of the curry Industry was shared by Rt Hon Teresa May MP, Home Secretary who too was all praises to the event and said, “The success of the British curry Industry is about much more than your tremendous economic contribution to this country, it’s about the way you have become so much a part of the British way of life. I’m excited to be here at the tenth annual British Curry Awards. I was here when you first started the awards in 2005 and it is tremendous to see how big it has become over the years. We have top restaurateurs, talented chefs, journalists, broadcasters and many well-known faces here tonight. It’s not hard to see why the Prime Minister and others have called these the Oscars of the curry industry. Enam, you’ve done a terrific job and I would like to congratulate you for bringing this to us for ten years now.

Before the awards were handed out the 1700 strong crowd were addressed by Home Secretary Theresa May who was the guest of honour. Afterwards the awards were handed out by a roll call of celebrities, politicians and journalists including BBC war reporter Rageh Omar, Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Coronation Street star Shobna Gulati, Government minister Chris Grayling, comedian and presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli and former England goalkeeper David Seaman.

Big Winners of the night included Chilli Pickle who won the Best Delivery/Takeaway award. Best Newcomer of the year went to Five Rivers A la Carte, Walsall. The best Casual Dining award was won by Dhishoom at Covent Garden

This year’s Special Recognition Award was presented to one of the UK’s founding curry restaurateurs, Shams Uddin Khan of Maharani restaurant, Clapham.  

The winners of the award Best Newcomer of the year Five Rivers A La Carte, Walsall attributed their success to great hospitality, passion and team effort.

Winners of the Prize for Best in Casual Dining’ added “Casual dining is when you go out whenever you feel like it. It is not dining, it is not quick service. It is the kind of experience anyone can enjoy whether it’s lunch, or evening or weekend or daytime ‘.

The winners of the best takeaway ‘The chilli Pickle, Brighton’ stressed upon creating Individuality in their packaging and being creative to stand out as different as the secret ingredient to their success. “A takeaway doesn’t have to be sloppy or a poor version of the food served at the restaurant. We are even very choosy with our takeaway menu and do not include dishes that we think will not taste as good after 50 minutes in the car.”

British Curry Awards 2014 winners:

Newcomer of the Year: Five Rivers A La Carte, Walsall

Best Casual Dining: Dishoom Covent Garden

Best Delivery Restaurant/ Takeaway by The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

Best Spice Restaurant in London Central & City: The Cinnamon Club, Westminster

Best Spice Restaurant in London Outer & Suburbs: Shampan Welling, Kent

Best Spice Restaurant in South East: Maliks Restaurant, Maidenhead, Berkshire

Best Spice Restaurant in South West: Myristica, Bristol

Enam Ali MBE, Dr Vijay MallyaBest Spice Restaurant in North East: Aagrah Midpoint, Thornbury, West Yorkshire

Best Spice Restaurant in North West: Blue Tiffin, Oldham

Best Spice Restaurant in Midlands: Mem Saab, Nottingham

Best Spice Restaurant in Wales: Rasoi Indian Kitchen, Swansea

Best Spice Restaurant in Scotland: Light of Bengal, Aberdeen