David Cameron has vowed to support upcoming young chefs in the UK’s ethnic restaurant sector, but the Prime Minister admitted that the difficulties importing skilled chefs from the Indian subcontinent will take some time to solve. 

Speaking at the British Curry Awards in London last night, Cameron pledged to ease immigration rules, which currently close the door on all but the most senior chefs hoping to join the UK restaurant sector.

“Like any industry, this one faces its own specific challenges and I know that there have been questions on immigration and getting chefs with the necessary experience,” he said.
“I know this problem won’t be fixed overnight - it requires long term commitment on all sides.

“So let me promise you this - we will work through this together. We will continue to get you the skilled Asian chefs that you need and we will also work with you to train up the next generation of home-grown chefs.”

Over 100 curry restaurants from across the UK descended on Battersea Evolution for the ninth annual British Curry Awards. Atul Kochar’s Mayfair restaurant, Benares, was crowned the best in central London.

Winning restaurants were judged on menu choice, wine list, exterior and interior décor and plate presentation.

British Curry Awards: Winners list

- Best in South East- Chez Mumtaj

- Best in London Central and City- Benares Restaurant

- Best Newcomer- Shampan 4 Restaurant

- Best in North East- Raval Restaurant

- Best in North West- The Viceroy Carlisle

- Best in Scotland- Karma

- Best in Midlands- Mem Saab

- Best in Wales- Bokhara Restaurant

- Best in South West- Myristica

- Best in London Suburbs- Indian Moment

- Best Takeaway- Polash Tandoori

The evening also saw a Special Recognition Award presented to Dipna Anand from Southall’s ‘Brilliant’ restaurant, for her successes in the catering industry. Upon giving out the award, Ali encouraged other women to follow in her footsteps.

“One issue we have tried to highlight is the lack of Asian women in the curry industry and how there is a gender divide in restaurant kitchens which is considerably male dominated,” he said. “This year we awarded a very deserving individual on her work in raising the profile of curry in the UK.”

The curry restaurant industry contributes £3.6bn annually to the UK economy and employs more than 80,000 people. Over 2,900 restaurants received at least one public nomination in this year’s awards