03/05/2013 - Permalink

Curry chefs get ready to battle for the prestigious Shropshire title

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Curry chefs from restaurants in Shrewsbury, Ellesmere and Dorrington will compete to be named the best in the county in a prestigious competition run by Shropshire Council.

The four finalists in the council’s 2013 ‘Curry Chef of the Year’ competition are:

  • Sheraz Tandoori Restaurant, Shrewsbury
  • Dorrington Old Hall Persian Cuisine
  • Panacea, Shrewsbury
  • Thai Mere Restaurant, Ellesmere.

The winner of the award will be the restaurant in the Shropshire Council area with the nominated chef producing the best and most nutritious curry, side dish and rice accompaniment, as well as demonstrating high standards of food hygiene in their premises and catering practices.

The finalists will take part in a ‘cook-off’ in front of a panel of judges at Radbrook Catering College in Shrewsbury on Monday 13 May 2013, where they will have one hour to cook and display their chosen menu.

All Indian, Bangladeshi, Balti, Thai and similar restaurants and takeaways in the Shropshire Council area with a food hygiene rating of three (satisfactory) or above were invited to enter the competition.  The entries were assessed by the health protection and prevention team in public protection.  The successful applicants were visited to ensure that good food safety practices are being met, and to taste and consider the nutritional value of the chef’s chosen dishes.

At the final cook-off the competing curries will be tasted and assessed by the judges, before the winner is awarded the title of Shropshire Council Curry Chef of the Year 2013.

Matthew Aldridge, health protection and prevention team manager, said:

“I would like to thank all who entered this year, and my congratulations go to each of our four finalists.

“The competition has proved to be a resounding success since it was first held in 2010, and each year the standard goes up, making it very hard to choose between the excellent chefs who applied.

“This year we have added an extra criterion to the judging which focuses on the nutritional value of the dishes, ensuring that the curry chefs do not use too much salt, fat, colouring or sugar when preparing their meals, which embraces our  ‘Eat Well Live Longer’ theme.

“The competition offers a great opportunity to boost local businesses by highlighting the many excellent curry houses that we have across the county.  It also places the focus on the important work carried out by our team to ensure that our restaurants and takeaways are safe, hygienic places.

“The title has gone to very worthy winners in previous years and this year’s cook-off is set to be an exciting close-fought event.  The four successful restaurants have demonstrated exceptionally high standards of culinary expertise, hygiene, nutrition, flair and creativity to earn their place in the final.”

The competition judges will be:

  • Sean McNulty,  Senior Chef Lecturer at Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology at Radbrook Campus
  • Paul McGreary, Shropshire Council’s head of  public protection
  • Paola Alessandri-Gray  – Public Health Project Manager (Obesity)

Last year’s winner Abdul Husen from Café Saffron in Shrewsbury, added:

“We were thrilled to make the final of Shropshire Council Curry Chef in 2012; however, winning the competition was the icing on the cake.  It has changed the mentality of how we run our business and has prompted us to strive for continual improvement. 

“The Shropshire Council Curry Chef of the Year is a fantastic competition.  It highlights the need for good food safety and healthier cooking, and promotes businesses who work hard to achieve this.” 

Photo:  Buaphan Chekrak, curry chef at Thai Mere Restaurant, 5 High Street, Ellesmere.