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British Curry Awards founder calls for support for industry
The founder of the ‘Curry Oscars’ took to the stage at the awards ceremony to call for political support to tackle challenges facing the industry.
Enam Ali, who founded the annual British Curry Awards in 2005, also urged more women to take a lead role in spice restaurants at the star-studded awards ceremony.
Mr Ali runs Le Raj restaurant in Epsom Downs which was chosen to serve curry at the Olympic Hospitality Centre during the summer.
At Battersea Evolution on Monday night (November 26) he made a plea to politicians to support the £3.6bn curry industry which is not only suffering the impact of the global downturn but is facing difficulties bringing in chefs from the subcontinent.
He said: "For the first time we have seen a slimming down of the industry. I would urge you to appreciate the seriousness of the situation and ask for your support."
Mr Ali also called for more recognition of women who work in and own spice restaurants, as female involvement in the sector remains one of the lowest anywhere.
He said: "The contribution they make to our industry is largely hidden."
MP for Epsom and Ewell Chris Grayling, who presented awards for central London and the city, hailed this year’s contest as the best ever.
MP Grayling said his only disappointment was that he could not pull out Le Raj as one of the winners.
He said: "This is an amazing family business. We are so proud of what they and the whole industry have achieved."
The likes of Peter Jones, Sir Terry Wogan and David Seaman flocked to celebrate the UK's favourite cuisine at the awards.
Prime Minister David Cameron sent his best wishes in a video clip, while Jenny Bond and Rory Bremner presented awards.
About 10,000 restaurants were involved in the awards, which are now in their eighth year.