Press Room

 

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The Federation of Specialist Restaurants

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020 8399 4831

Partners

 

The Curry Tree Charitable Fund
(www.thecurrytree.com)

BRADFORD THRIVE ON FIVE

 

At the final meeting of the judges at the close of National Curry Week®, Bradford was named Curry Capital of Britain® for an amazing fifth time in succession - making six in total.

Close on their heels was old curry rival Glasgow, the curry capital of Scotland, who were just five points behind, with top southern challenger, Brighton, taking third spot.

'Winning Curry Capital of Britain is a long and arduous process,' explained founder Peter Grove, 'and all the restaurant teams have to be commended on their efforts. Unfortunately, some councils take the event more seriously than others, which means fewer points in the final analysis.'

Points are awarded to each of the teams, which includes the judges' scores for each team of four restaurants, health and hygiene from Scores on the Doors, public votes, a council submission and finally, any fundraising for charity is also taken into account.

'The underlying concept of the event is Community Cohesion through Curry - not necessarily which city has the best restaurants,' explained Peter. 'I realise some restaurateurs will feel aggrieved,' he continued, 'but council support is part of the process and if that is not there, there is little we can do.'

Leicester managed to pip self-styled curry capital Birmingham to fourth place, with Birmingham fifth and London South and London Central joint sixth. The two London teams also achieved the excellent record of being the only 100% health & hygiene scorers amongst all the teams.

A full list of the places for 2015 is available on the event website, at www.currycapitalofbritain.co.uk

 

With Bradford seeming to have cracked the winning code for claiming the title, they will be sorry to hear that this is the last year that it will be contested under the present rules. Next year Curry Capital of Britain® will be going international, with preliminary events to determine the Curry Capitals of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The successful home nation teams will then compete against each other, as well as London to determine who will be the Curry Capital of Britain® and go on to compete against representatives from other countries for an international title.

The battle between England and Scotland in particular is certain to be hotly contested, as each is very proud of their curry industry. In this year's event not only did Glasgow come a close second with a very solid presentation, but Edinburgh was placed 8th and new entrant Aberdeen, 10th.

 

When told about the plans for the 14th Curry Capital of Britain®, Patricia Tillotson, on behalf of Bradford said, 'bring it on!'

 

The 18th National Curry Week® took place from 12-18 October 2015, supported by Sainsbury's, Amira Rice, Bhai Cider and Kingfisher Premium Lager Beer.

 

 

ENDS

 

 

 

JUDGES REPORT

 

Curry Capital of Britain® 2015 has not only produced some amazing restaurants, underlining the high standard of curry restaurants in UK, but also team efforts by some of the councils to support those restaurants. Even better is the fact that this event alone has made its biggest ever contribution to the overall charity fund-raising of National Curry Week®, with over £6,000 going to a variety of charities including one single donation of £2,000 to the Glasgow Lord Provost's Malawi Fund by Customer's Restaurant of the Year 2015, Koolba.

 

Once again the judging proved just how close this event can get and Bradford and Glasgow in particular are now so well organised in their efforts, it makes the decision on the eventual outcome even more difficult. The judges did feel, however, that Bradford reflected the central message of the event best with its community and team involvement over Glasgow's 'People Make Glasgow' submission, although Glasgow did score slightly higher in the restaurant marks.

 

Brighton put up a very spirited challenge in only its third year and surprised many by again being in the top three. There was excellent support from the restaurants and local PR man George Shaw, although the bid was a little lacking in other areas.

 

Leicester provided one of its best challenges since they won in 2007, beating rival Birmingham into fifth place. Birmingham scored the second highest restaurant marks after London South and London Central but unfortunately received little council support. The same applies to the two London teams which both only dropped two points each out of a possible forty four.

 


Peter Grove hands the new 2014 trophy to Patricia Tillotson of Bradford Council with representatives of Kiplings, Zaara's, Aakash and Shimla Spice

BRADFORD RAISE MONEY WITH A TEA TWIST

(October 2014)Peter Grove (right) accepts a donation raise at a new Indian Tea with a Twist event by Bradford from Lord Mayor Councillor Mike Gibbons and Patricia Tillotson for the Council.

The 3 'B's take the honours in Curry Capital event

After six months of voting and investigation, the thirteen judges of Curry Capital of Britain sponsored by hungryhouse.com, awarded the honours for 2014 to the 3 'B's - BRADFORD (the winners) - Brighton (Runners-up) - Birmingham (Third).

This means that Bradford have taken the title an amazing record breaking four years in a row despite the great efforts of other cities to beat them. Peter Grove, organiser and founder of the event as part of 17th National Curry Week, was full of praise for the outstanding effort of the Yorkshire city with their score increasing nearly 9% on last year's total. "It is as if they have found the magic formula," he said. "Of all the competing cities they have understood the underlying message of the event to promote cohesion where there was division and have used curry as a bonding agent to bring different aspects of Bradford society together." "As well as curry lovers and restaurateurs, they managed to bring together local businesses such as Lishman's of Ilkley and their balti pies and Keelham's Farm Shop with their tasty Tipsy Pig Ale, hotels and even the air cadets." " They managed to portray the local pride they have in all things 'Bradford' so much so that we will be using their approach as a blueprint for next year."

Tourism Manager Patricia Tillotson and her team and the four restaurants representing Bradford, Kiplings, Shimla Spice, Aakash and Zaara's, worked hard throughout the year to get their message across and showed an amazing example of how people can work together where they would normally never do so.

"No doubt there will be several complaints as to why a certain city has not done better but it can come down to their official health and safety standards or, more often than not, the lack of input from the cities themselves." "We do not put rules on the submissions required or expect it to be costly but in some cases councils could not be bothered to send out the tourist material expected by an ordinary enquirer, thus letting their restaurants down." "The lack of effort of some cities is very disappointing."

If you are looking for the healthiest place to have your curry then Bradford and Nottingham head your list with 100% scores, London Central (Tamarind, Quilon, Chakra, Painted Heron) received the highest inspection marks from the judges and Babur in South London was, once again, the only restaurant to achieve maximum points. New to the top three, Brighton moved rapidly up the list from 12th last year with the support of the council and local PR man George Shaw, which would have please the Father of the British Curry Scene Sake Dean Mohammed who opened the first curry restaurant in London in 1809 but later lived and died in Brighton.

Birmingham moved up one place to third but still have yet to mount the major challenge they seem capable of and Leicester re-affirmed itself is one of the best places to enjoy curry with a solid 4th place. Newcastle were placed last this year because one of the team restaurants closed during the judging period for renovation this effecting the marking and Wolverhampton slipped down the list as the local marketing team were no longer able to continue the fantastic support of previous years. The presentation of the award will take place in Bradford at a date to be advised.

CURRY CAPITAL OF BRITAIN 2014 - THE TEAMS

Curry Capital of Britain 2013 was a victim of its own success in that not only is the city determined to win for a record smashing fourth time in a row but more and more Bradford restaurants want to join the team of four to represent their city.

Said Peter Grove, organiser of Curry Capital of Britain for National Curry Week in October, "the voting public really seem to have the idea of what we are looking for. In the past they may have given their vote frivolously, but now they are curry connoisseurs with the result that the city teams are stronger than ever.

With the team details only just hot off the press, Bradford council is already actively promoting the city, but they need not think they will have it all their own way with Leicester, Birmingham, Cardiff, parts of London and even relative newcomer Brighton showing great enthusiasm.

"With Glasgow side-lined due to a really fantastic Commonwealth Games," continued Grove, "the possibilities are really open for Bradford to win yet again or a totally unsuspected city to receive the title for 2014".

"It is all down to the judges and those valuable public votes".

Teams for 2014

Leicester: Shimla Pinks, Curry Fever, Swatlands, Cuisine of India
Leeds: Sheesh Mahal, Akbars(Eastgate), Aagrah Leeds, Shabab
Wolverhampton: Rickshaw, Masalla Club, The Bilash, Indigo
Cardiff: Moksh, Purple Poppadom, Spiceberry, Mint and Mustard
Birmingham: Puskar, Lasan, Punjabi Rasoi, Itihaas
Bradford: Kiplings, Shimla Spice, Aakash, Zaaras
Sheffield: Cutlers Spice, Nawaab, Akhtars, Zaras
Newcastle: Rupali, Valley Junction 397, Solomon Lounge, Aneesa's
Edinburgh: Britannia Spice, Mithas, Vinyasa, Mother India Café
Nottingham: Curry Lounge, Cumin, Tamatanga, Mogal-e-Azam
Northampton: Memsaab,Café Saffron, Lazeez, Tamarind
Liverpool: Mayur, East z East, Yukti, Gulshan
Brighton: Chilli Pickle, Indian Summer, Bombay India, Ashoka
Oxford: Malikas, Qumins, Spice Lounge, Aziz
Manchester: Royal Nawaab, Mughli, East z East, Zouk
London East: Café Spice, Cinnamon Kitchen, Bengal Lancer, Jalalabad
London South: Bengal Clipper, Cinnamon Culture, Babur, Chak 89
London West: Atithi, Brilliant, Tamara Lounge, Moti Mahal
London North: Masala Zone(Islington), Bombay Flame, Roots, Riverside Lounge
London Central: Chakra, Tamarind, Quilon, Painted Heron

The restaurants will now be visited by one of the team of national judges to submit a report contributing to that cities aspirations of winning the title for 2014. The public can still show their support by viting for their city on vote@fedrest.com.

PRESS RELEASE (28 October 2013)

BRADFORD RECEIVE THE TROPHY FOR THIRD YEAR RUNNING

The team from Bradford travelled to London yesterday to accept the Curry Capital of Britain 2013 trophy from Shane Lake of sponsors hungryhouse.co.uk.

This is the third consecutive year Bradford has won the title putting them level with Glasgow on four wins each. The event is the showpiece of National Curry Week, now in its 16th year, and it was celebrated along with other awards at a special Celebration of Curry cruise on The New Southern Belle on the River Thames.

Patricia Tillotson accepted the trophy on behalf of Bradford council and the restaurant team of Akbars, Kiplings, Shimla Spice and Omar Khan's and a special award was made to the Bradford Air Cadets who set a new Poppadomathon World Record and raised £200 for charity.

Peter Grove, founder and organiser of the event said, "this curry cruise is a fitting end to a fantastic year during which the British curry family has once again shown its generosity and fun loving nature. Bradford once again ticked all the boxes with the judges showing exemplary teamwork, innovation and fun".

Although most pledges for the event are still to be honoured, Mr Grove was able to hand over a first cheque to Find Your Feet, the official charity, with the expectation of many more to come. All the winners for 2013 were :

Curry Capital of Britain - Bradford
Customer Restaurant of the Year - Bilash Wolverhampton
Best Signature Dish (Traditional) - Cinnamon Culture Bromley
Best Signature Dish (Innovative) - Navin Bhatia Dockmasters London E14
Curry Pub of the Year - The Vine West Bromwich
hungryhouse Takeaway of the Year - Sizzlers Pizza & Balti Hut Bradford
Best Indian Restaurant of the Year - Babur London SE23

 

PRESS RELEASE (1st May 2013)

MORE CITIES THAN EVER COMPETE TO 'CURRY OFF' TITLE

The Curry Capital of Britain 2013 will have two new cities competing for the coveted title with Brighton and Oxford joining the fray

Cities invited to compete for 2013 by the organisers are :London East ; London North ; London South ; London West ; London Central ; Birmingham ; Leicester ; Cardiff ; Bradford ; Manchester ; Sheffield ; Newcastle ; Edinburgh ; Glasgow ; Liverpool ; Leeds ; Wolverhampton ; Nottingham ; Northampton ; Brighton ; Oxford.

Last year over a quarter of a million curry fans voted for their favourite restaurants and city and the response is expected to be even greater with the active support of lead event sponsors hungryhouse.co.uk The event is unique as it involves first the public, who vote via vote@fedrest.com, their local council website or the restaurants themselves. Once a team of restaurants have been voted to represent each city they move on to the city voting stage whilst the judges prepare their reports on the restaurants and the council or marketing body make a submission as to why their city should win.

The event introduces an element of excitement and pride to restaurants and curry fans alike and the competition between cities is sometimes intense. Last year Bradford won narrowly for a second year from four times winner Glasgow but early voting suggests there may be some dark horses this year.

"I hope the media, councils and restaurants, indeed any body that has direct contact with the curry eating public encourages them to vote and make this year's event even more exciting," said Peter Grove who organises the annual event on behalf of The Federation of Specialist Restaurants.

11th Curry Capital of Britain is part of 16th National Curry Week (7-14th October) which exists to promote the cuisine and the importance of our ethnic communities whilst raising much needed funds for the poor and malnourished. This annual event whose lead supporter will be Patak's for the third consecutive year, has something for all Britain's 27 million curry fans whether dining in or out, in a restaurant, pub, club or home.

Press Release : November 2012

Bradford has hung on to its title by the narrowest of margins to become Curry Capital of Britain 2012, the third time the city that boasts 200 curry restaurants has won the title. Glasgow still holds the record as a four time winner and was equal on points with 83 out of a possible 100 points with Wolverhampton third just two points behind, its strongest challenge to date. The title went to Bradford on a tie break due to being higher in public voting in both the national and sponsor Hungryhouse polls.

Organiser Peter Grove commented, "The 10th running of Curry Capital of Britain was undoubtedly the greatest ever and team restaurants and councils have to be congratulated on their high standards. All three of the top cities produced fantastic submissions, underscoring their commitment to the curry industry and ethnic community whilst emphasising how important curry is to their cities. Wolverhampton gets better each year whilst Glasgow continues to set the standard for enthusiasm and commitment but Bradford, the city that seems to eat, breath and even export curry, just made it across the line first by the narrowest of margins".

2011/2012 has been a very difficult time for many sectors in Britain and the curry restaurant industry has not been immune from the commercial pressures. In Brick Lane, London's tourist curry hotspot, closures have started with rumours of more in the pipeline. On Manchester's famous Curry Mile the scene has changed beyond recognition with just 12 sit-down curry restaurants remaining, having been replaced by an influx of shisha bars. All over the country many curry restaurant owners are reporting up to 20% fall in income, not helped by high VAT levels.

All is not doom and gloom, however, as many top-end and well established restaurants continue to do well and Curry Capital of Britain has once again received more public votes than ever before underlining the continuing enthusiasm for 'Britain's national dish'.

"With just two points between the winner and third placed city, I would like to give all three a trophy", commented organiser Peter Grove for The Federation of Specialist Restaurants. "The most interesting feature this year has been the growth of the challenge from some of the other cities, as they realise the importance of the event to their city and community. Birmingham, Edinburgh and Leicester always put up a serious challenge, but this year Cardiff climbed to joint seventh and we welcomed newcomers London Central and London South. The gap between challengers and past winners is narrowing year on year so 2013 could see some interesting developments."

The presentation of the trophy was made to Patricia Tillotson on behalf of Bradford Council at a ceremony at Akbar's Cafe in Leeds Road Bradford on 2nd December by Mandeep Singh(below left) on behalf of co-sponsors Hungryhouse.

Top ten Cities 2012 :

(2011 in brackets)

1. Bradford (1)

2. Glasgow (2)

3 Wolverhampton (3)

4. Leicester (4)

5. Edinburgh (5)

6. Birmingham (7)

7. London Central (-)

8. Cardiff (10)

 9 London South (-)

 10 Nottingham (9)

Press Release : April 2012

This October, 20 cities around Britain, more than ever before, will be going head to head to win the title of '10th Curry Capital of Britain' as part of National Curry Week 2012 8-14th October.

National Curry Week is now in its 15th year and exists to promote the cuisine, recognise the contribution of the ethnic communities to British cities and raise much needed funds for the malnourished and impoverished of the world through The Curry Tree Charitable Fund.

20 cities will be included in the competition with the regions of London returning and they all will be trying to equal or better their standing in 2011. The national event is a partnership between the curry loving public, the restaurants and the Councils and is always hotly contested.

The voting has now started to decide on the restaurant teams that will fly the flag for the cities for 2012 and to make matters more exciting, sponsors S&A Foods with Asda and Patak's are again offering prizes of supplies of product for voters. All you have to do to qualify for the free draw is to vote for your favourite restaurant in your city on the website(www.nationalcurryweek.co.uk and click to Curry Capital of Britain and your city of choice) or through some Council websites, giving your name and email contact for verification and the goodies could be yours. The winner will be announced on 30th October along with the winner of this year's 'Curry Capital of Britain'.

Organiser Peter Grove said "Last year votes flooded in via the website, via local newspapers or via Council websites. Over 250,000 votes showed the support for curry and at one stage voters even crashed the voting computers. The event even trended third in the world on Twitter led by pop star Bruno Mars"

Bradford was the winner in 2011 snatching the title from Glasgow but with more challengers than ever and the determination of several Councils to reclaim the title or win it for the first time, it promises to be an eventful next few months.

Competing cities are : London East, London North, London South, London West, London Central, Glasgow, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Bradford, Leicester, Newcastle, Leeds, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Northampton, Luton.

"This sounds very interesting --- I wish the project well and look forward to hearing about its progress"
Tony Blair, The Past Prime Minister