The search for the UK’s Junior Curry Chef 2011 has begun in the heart of Bradford – the Curry Capital of England. 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 competition that encourages British born cooks to become the curry chefs of the future, Event Organiser and Head Chef, Colin Burt said: “Due to the ‘Curry Crisis’ colleges need to address the skills shortage in the Asian restaurants and where better to begin than Bradford? The shortage in skilled chefs has prompted the launch of the Junior Curry Chef Competition. We’re keen to promote and encourage British born chefs, both female and male to develop the skills needed to fill the gap.”
Changing social values within the Asian communities has meant that aspirational young people are often no longer choosing to follow in their parents’ footsteps and go into the family catering business. This has meant that one in four jobs for chefs is vacant. This red hot issue has since been the subject of Parliamentary debate, with the cuisine worth a staggering £3.5bn to the UK economy.
Earlier this year Bradford College launched the International Food Academy to address the skills shortage in the industry, with a range of innovative new courses that focus on specialist qualification in Asian and International cuisine.
Lecturer, Colin Burt is the Head Chef at the International Food Academy and with the backing of award winning restaurants Omar Khan’s, Akbars, Nawaab, Mumtaz, Aagrah and Prashad, Bradford College has begun the search to find up and coming British talent to perfect the perfect pakoras and learn the secrets of brilliant baltis.
Competition entrants must be 18 years of age or under and will have 90 minutes to impress a panel of award winning judges with their preparation, cooking and presentation of a curry dish of their choice.
Colin Burt commenting further said: “Due to the changes in immigration law, local restaurants are looking to employ non Asian staff to plug the skills gap shortage.”
Leading restaurateur, Prashad’s Bobby Patel is embracing the idea of recruiting non Asian staff into his kitchen’s restaurant, adding: “We’re not talking about getting a white face into the kitchen, were talking about getting talent into the kitchen and finding those stars, irrespective of ethnicity.”
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. Gordon described the food at Prashad as ‘Extraordinary’ and ‘The best vegetarian cuisine he had ever had’.
Commenting on the competition that encourages young inspiring cooks to become the curry chefs of the future, Prashad’s Bobby Patel, said: "Taking part in a competitive environment demonstrates the commitment these young chefs have to learn the subtleties of Asian cuisine.”
Bobby Patel added: “I’m very proud to be part of this competition and expect to see some great talent. The Indian restaurant scene is changing and it’s great to be part of this exciting time.” Bobby’s mother and the founder of Prashad has been announced as a judge of the prestigious competition.
Head of the International Food Academy, Graham Fleming backed the initiative and concluded: “Working with top Asian restaurants, we’re delighted to launch the competition to discover the young inspiring cooks of the future, whilst also plugging the gap in the current staffing crisis.”Full details on how to enter the competition can be found at www.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/junior-curry-chef-2011