Former Bradford College students Bobby and Minal Patel rose to fame and critical acclaim when they were featured on Gordon Ramsay’s hit Channel 4 TV series ‘Ramsay's Best Restaurant’.
Gordon pitted their tiny Indian vegetarian restaurant ‘Prashad’ in the first heat of the competition against ‘The Brilliant’, one of the biggest food establishments in London. Prashad beat their rivals to claim their place in the semi final.
During the filming of the series, Gordon put Bobby and Minal through a series of gruelling tests, including secret diners and undercover filming, an unannounced coach-load of hungry diners, and a nerve-wracking test at Gordon's flagship London restaurant.
Since the programme was broadcast, the restaurant has been packed every night, and the award winning couple have gone on to scoop an AA Rosette – yet another award to add to their ever growing collection. Prashad is the first restaurant in Bradford to receive the rosette, for high quality cooking and the overall dining experience offered.
Winning the hearts and minds of the nation with their infectious enthusiasm for vegetarian cuisine, they beat off competition from more than 12,000 eateries nationwide to reach the final of the hit TV series.
In a frank and revealing interview the young husband and wife team reveal how life has changed since appearing on the show…
Prashad, the Bradford based restaurant has just 40 seats, but the family firm have big ambitions. Bobby runs front of house with warmth and charm, whilst Minal and the team at Prashad create exceptional vegetarian cuisine with passion and heart.
Many meat-eating locals have been converted by the quality of the cuisine that Gordon Ramsay described as “Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.”
Commenting on how it felt to have been critically acclaimed by Gordon Ramsay, Minal said: “Gordon isn’t a massive fan of vegetarian food. When he first came and tasted our food and loved it, we felt really proud!”
Minal has since been recruited by Gordon Ramsay to work in his flagship London restaurant. Elaborating further Minal said: “I’ll be spending two days a week working in all Gordon’s restaurants! It’s unbelievable… I’m delighted.” Minal added: “He’s also wants us to go for a Michelin Star. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, but never thought possible until now.”
Minal had never cooked professionally until she married Bobby, moved to England and joined his mum in the kitchen six years ago. Proud husband Bobby added: “She’s so humble and quiet, but has always had aspirations to become a Michelin Star chef… her expression comes through her food.” Bobby laughed and added: “She’s the total opposite to me. I can’t cook, but I can talk.”
Bradford College Cookery Tutor, Colin Burt recognised Minal’s exceptional culinary skills when she first enrolled on a professional cookery course at Bradford College. Humbly, Colin smiled and said: “I don’t think I’ve taught her anything… I’m sure she could probably teach me a lot more.”
This was met by a passionate “No, that’s not true” from Minal “I’ve learnt so much from you!” Minal first enrolled on an ESOL course at the College, before progressing through a series of professional cookery qualifications to become the award winning chef we know today. Bobby reflected: “All of her confidence in this country has been delivered to her by Bradford College. It’s where she’s got her knowledge from and it’s where I actually bucked my ideas up and started doing some work. I loved it!” Bobby successfully completed a BTEC National Business Studies course, before progressing onto university.
Speaking with great affection about Minal and Bobby’s great achievements, Colin Burt added: “I’m just so thrilled for these guys, as they are such nice people. They work so hard, are so passionate and they really deserve it. I hope they go from strength to strength.”
Speaking about the vision for Prashad in the future, Bobby said: “We’re a small restaurant with a hell of a lot of passion. We’ve always believed in ourselves, we’ve always had the future in mind and invested in education.”
Minal added: “If you have a passion for food – then go for it! If your heart’s not in it, or someone is pushing you into it, then there’s no point. You need to be passionate, hardworking, treat everyone equally – and do your job to the best of your ability!”
When asked what it was like to work alongside Gordon Ramsay, both Bobby and Minal replied in unison: “Inspirational!”
Offering further insight into the real ‘Gordon Ramsay’, Bobby elaborated: “He’s your true humble gentleman, despite his success and wealth. Although he’s got a public persona – he wears his heart on his sleeve. He doesn’t do it right, he doesn’t do it safe – he does it from the heart! People can question his manner – his language, but when you’re near him, you can’t help but stand up straight. You cannot help but be in awe of him. We spoke to many of his employees and I’d say to them ‘I bet it’s a nightmare working for him’ and every one of them said – ‘no absolutely not – this guy has given me a career’. Many of his employees have gone from pot washing to award winning Michelin Star chefs.”
Bobby concluded: “I’ve got a lot of respect for Gordon Ramsay, he takes the knocks, doesn’t whinge about them, they’re knocks… learn from them, pick yourself up, brush yourself down, smile and get on.” A few years ago, Prashad nearly made the difficult decision to close the business, with hard work, passion and a determination to succeed, the team at Prashad turned it round to become the award winning restaurant we known today – living up to the name ‘Prashad’, which when translated, means ‘Blessed Food’.