In the heart of Bradford – labelled the Curry Capital of England, Colin Burt, Head Chef Trainer at Bradford College’s International Food Academy (IFA) has smashed the Guinness World Record for the biggest bhaji in the world, in partnership with award winning restaurant Prashad.
Take a look at footage of the record breaking event....
The man-sized starter has put Bradford firmly on the international map, as Colin and his team cooked and carried the record breaking onion bhaji on a specially created ‘bhaji barrow’ through the streets of Bradford, on the 28th September to coincide with Positive Bradford Day. The striking ‘bhaji barrow’ was created by Chris Birkett and Stephen Singh from the Construction Department.
A staggering 6 sacks of onions (120 kg), (donated by First Choice) 6 bags of chickpea flour (12kg) and 250 bottles of rapeseed oil (250 litres) (donated by Wharfe Valley Farms) were used to make the epic bhaji with a selection of secret spices added to the special mix.
The previous Guinness World Record for the largest onion bhaji in the world was held by a community group in the West Midlands, which weighed in at a staggering 84.26 kilograms.
Head Chef Trainer, Colin tipped the scales with the bhaji that weighed a whopping 102.2 kilograms and measured a staggering 68cm in base diameter, bulging out in the middle to 73cm with a height of 26cm.
It took four men to lift the giant sized snack into a special cooking vessel and a team of 9 people including: Colin Burt, Luke Birchill, Josh Downey, Chris Godding, Jo Leather, James McGregor, Joel Stafford, Angelo Towse and Alister Wiggan to ensure the beast of a bhaji was cooked to perfection.
Colin also enlisted the help of the Engineering Department at Bradford College, when he realised there was no conventional cooking equipment big enough to house the belt busting bhaji.
Engineering Lecturer Perry Rushby and Engineering Technician Mark Spiers came to the rescue by creating a cooking vessel big enough to fry the world beating starter, which Colin and the team have fondly named ‘Big Bertha’. A special rack, ‘sky hooks’ and handles have also been designed to lower and raise the monster bhaji in and out of the boiling oil.
With over 250 bottles of rapeseed oil used to cook the super-sized snack, Bradford College Health and Safety officials Brian Kendrick and Tracy Michael’s were called in to avoid a towering inferno sweeping through the seven story Westbrook building, where the record breaking event took place.
Colin explained: “Lowering the beast of Bradford into the boiling oil had to be done gently to avoid the oil bubbling up.” Colin added: Even ‘Big Bertha’s’ capacity was tested to the limit during this process. It’s was at this point that we encountered the greatest danger. If the hot oil had spilled out onto the boiling rings, which had five bottles of butane gas attached to them… well you can imagine it could have been rather unpleasant to say the least.”
Elaborating further Colin Burt smiled and added: “Rigorous test had to be carried out to ensure we didn’t set the building on fire when the super-sized snack was snared by Bradford’s Big Bertha!”
This is the latest in a string of ‘curry loving initiatives’ to emerge from International Food Academy, including the search for the UK’s Junior Curry Chef Competition, which will be hosted at Bradford College. Earlier this year the Academy also hit the headlines, when it came to the rescue of the curry crisis, with a range of innovative new courses that focus on specialist qualifications in Asian and International cuisine – ranging from Apprenticeships, to Degree programmes.
Hospitality and Catering Apprenticeship programmes are available through City Training Services, part of the Bradford College family.
This follows the announcement that restaurateurs throughout the country are facing an unprecedented ‘Curry Crisis’ and are struggling to find skilled chefs due to a tightening of immigration laws.
Commenting on the breaking of the world record, leading restaurateur, Prashad’s Bobby Patel said: “Working with the International Food Academy and getting involved in the world record breaking event, encapsulates the essence of the College, forward thinking and encompassing Yorkshire.”
Bobby added: “It’s great to see the College has pulled in a fabulous team and we are proud to a part of this amazing feat. Positive Bradford is truly the future and we are privileged to be a part of this fantastic city.”
Prashad perfected the perfect curry to reach the final of Gordon Ramsay’s hit Channel 4 TV series ‘Ramsay's Best Restaurant’ beating off stiff competition from more than 12,000 eateries nationwide to win the hearts and minds of the nation with their infectious enthusiasm for vegetarian cuisine.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Naveeda Ikram was delighted to act as an independent witness for the record breaking event, along with the Catering Academy Area Manager, Darren Hall.
In order to break the Guinness World Record, the monster sized bhaji had to be edible. Crowds gathered in Centenary Square to sample the epic sized snack and taste the mouth watering delight.
Commenting on smashing the world record, Head Chef Trainer Colin said: “It is absolutely fantastic to have broken the world record today in partnership with Prashad! The beast of Bradford ‘sky hooked’ in Centenary Square has created a lot of excitement for everyone involved today. The monster bhaji has been paraded around the square in its ‘bahji barrow’ by the ‘bahji barrow boys’ before being ceremoniously weighed and measured in front of the Lord Mayor. We’re delighted we have broken the world record and it has been a day to remember - putting Bradford firmly on the map.”
Head of the International Food Academy, Graham Fleming backed the record breaking bahji and concluded: “Once again Bradford College has led the Bradford community with another record breaking smash! We’ve just shown the Brummies how to make a bahji, beating their record by at least 17 kilograms – what an achievement for Bradford.” Graham Fleming smiled and added: “We’re coming back to the Curry Capital of England… watch this space!”
In a city that is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and multicultural population – a dish that has become a national favourite, looks set to unite a nation.