Aagrah’s Managing Director Mohammed Aslam MBE, better known as Aslam to his family and friends had the highest honour bestowed upon him last week, receiving an Honorary Fellowship by Bradford College.
The youngest of three brothers, Aslam came to the UK in 1967. After a short spell working for London Transport as a Bus Driver, he moved to Bradford to join his brother Mohammed Sabir, now Aagrah Chairman to work in the family business. Building on the foundations laid by Sabir and other family members, his entrepreneurial skills, coupled with a desire to succeed played a key role in the business as it began to show signs of growth in the early eighties.
Widely acknowledged as putting Kashmiri cuisine on the UK map, Aagrah Restaurants continued to develop and promote their homeland cooking as a distinct cuisine in its own right as its popularity grew. This inspired Aslam to train and become a professional chef learning how to cook authentic Kashmiri family recipes on a commercial level.
More than 3 decades on, Aagrah and Aslam have won some of the industry’s highest accolades, with the most recent being Special Recognition Award presented by Prime Minister David Cameron at the British Curry Awards 2013 for which he received a long standing ovation.
Aagrah’s landmark in the company’s journey came in the acquisition of a piece of land on the border of Leeds and Bradford to build The Midpoint Suite in 2009, a conference and banqueting venue with a capacity of 450 people. Now a highly successful centre, the Midpoint suite hosts over 500 hundreds event every year.
The company now has 16 branches across Yorkshire and a highly successful outdoor catering division. Aslam is also the vision behind Aagrah’s home dining venture. In 2011 Aagrah branched out into the home dining market by successfully launching a range of Tarka Cooking sauces, available in Asda and Tesco. A recent addition has seen chutneys, pickles and marinades added to their home dining experience.
Aslam’s formula for success is employing the right staff and personally being involved in their training and development of all the company’s chefs . He firmly believes the success of the business is underpinned with family values, teamwork and consistently serving the highest quality food with professional and friendly service.
Accepting the award Mr Aslam thanked his wife, children, his brothers Mohammed Sabir, Zaffar Iqbal and Nephew Arshad Mahmood for their ‘unstinting support’ and encouragement saying this year has been ‘very special’.
Adding: “We opened two new branches, one in Ilkley, a 90 seat fine dining restaurant and our second Sheffield branch at Crystal Peaks with 275 seats. On a personal level receiving the Honorary Fellowship has been humbling. I am truly grateful to everyone concerned with it all.”