Prime Minister David Cameron Backs British Curry Industry

Gateshead, United Kingdom, December 20, 2013 --( Prime Minister David Cameron has been credited with throwing the British curry industry a much-needed lifeline.

His remarks at a major awards ceremony – dubbed the Curry Oscars – has given new hope to restaurateurs struggling to find or train staff.

Mr Cameron told guests at the British Curry Awards in London: “We will continue to help you get the skilled Asian chefs you need, and we will also work with you to train up the next generation of home-grown chefs.”

The Prime Minister’s pledge was made in response to growing concern in the industry over the difficulty of bringing qualified chefs to the UK and a shortage in training facilities for new chefs. His remarks were music to the ears of newly-crowned North East Curry King Avi Malik.

The manager of Raval Luxury Indian Restaurant, which won North East Indian Restaurant of the year at the ceremony, said: “This was the first time David Cameron had been to the British Curry Awards as Prime Minister and I am delighted he used the occasion to pledge his support to our industry.

“We are facing challenging times, but I believe the very public backing he has given us will help to change the image of curry in this country forever. Our industry contributes an estimated £3.6 billion to the British economy yet we still shy away from promoting ourselves. We need to change that. The great British curry is under threat in some areas because many restaurants can’t find skilled staff. But the Prime Minister’s support has left me feeling very positive for the future, not just for Raval, but for the industry as a whole.”

Mr Malik, whose restaurant is just off the Tyne Bridge in Gateshead, also heaped praise on British Curry Awards organiser Enam Ali, who he said had steered the British curry industry “out of the dark ages.”

He said: “Enam Ali is a visionary. He created the British Curry Awards which every year shines a light on the very best our industry has to offer. It is a great tribute to his sheer determination and hard work that the likes of David Cameron want to be part of this occasion.”

Other celebrities at the event included host Chris Tarrant and former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward, who presented Mr Malik with Raval’s award, Scooping the regional title has capped a remarkable year for Raval, which has vowed to redefine people’s perceptions of Indian food in 2014.

Mr Malik added: “We have had a fabulous year, but 2014 is going to be even better because we intend to build on what we have already achieved. Being named Best Indian Restaurant in the North East has given myself and my team more energy. I can see it in the faces of everyone from the head chef to the cleaners. They know that all of their hard work, the attention to detail that they take so much pride in, has finally paid off. It has given them all renewed confidence going forward.”

The restaurant impressed judges with its contemporary Indian cuisine served in stylish surroundings.

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Avi Malik
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