I have been working on the Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA) curry awards since 2017 and each year the competition becomes fiercer and the actual night more glamorous. This year the awards night was held on 30 October 2022 and is now in its 16th year, where this special event announces the regional winners of its prestigious Chef and Restaurant of the Year Awards and celebrates their success as a community.
This year, industry expert and celebrity Greg Wallace, MBE, and Tasmin Lucia-Khan were the hosts of the night, which took place at the Park Plaza, London. The theme for the awards was – ‘Celebrating Success & Inspiring Others’, a theme that is close to the heart and mission of BCA.
There were seven regional chef winners, three takeaways who won ‘Takeaway of the Year’ and ten winning restaurants, with a new category for ‘Best Newcomer of the Year’, which was won by Pach Bhai, in Whitechapel, London. Each winner was chosen from hundreds of outstanding entrants and was judged on their innovation, presentation of food, hygiene standards, and customer service.
These awards celebrate the success of local restaurants, who are critical in keeping local communities thriving and crucially the very best of the Bangladeshi curry industry, shining a light on great local curry houses that are creating some of the best experiences on the high street. All the winners are not just inspiring this industry, they are keeping the legacy of British curry alive and show the best of what our curry houses have to offer.
Times have been tough for the hospitality industry in recent years. They battled the global pandemic, and lockdowns and are now facing their biggest challenge with the cost-of-living crisis. Confidence of this sector has tumbled, and times are tough. These uncertainties are impacting Britain’s curry industry and unless costs come under control, many curry restaurants will go under, and sadly many jobs will be lost.
Sadly, the great British tikka masala – the nation’s favourite dish – is under threat as never before and the curry industry is being hit by cost increases in everything from gas to spices, vegetable oil to mango chutney. Pre-pandemic, the UK’s curry industry contributed £4.2 billion to the national economy and now during these uncertain times, BCA seeks to unlock this industry’s full potential once again, as one of the biggest engines for growth in the UK economy.
This is an organization that believes in community, where together with its 12,000 members it can make a difference. So, if you are reading this, do try to support your local curry house, if you can.