‘Spice King’ awarded OBE: Queen’s Birthday Honours gives recognition to director of Midlands-based global ethnic food giant
Twice a year, the Queen gives out honours: once on New Year's Day and then on her official birthday in recognition of those who have contributed to public life or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.
The tradition dates back to 1860 when Queen Victoria gave out the first Birthday Honours.
This year, the honours committee described the list as the most diverse yet. Half of those honoured this year are women, while 10 per cent are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
When ‘Spice King’ Dr Jason Wouhra - Director of East End Foods PLC in Birmigham, was informed that he’d been awarded an OBE for Services to Business and International Trade, he surely sizzled with spicy delight.
Jason began working in the family business - East End Foods, during school holidays and weekends from a young age. Jason joined the firm full time after completing his law degree in 1998.
East End Foods is the largest importer of ethnic food ingredients in the UK. The company process, cleans, grinds and blends all products in the UK.
Upon hearing that he’s made the Queens Birthday Honours list, Jason comments that the ‘award was the most amazing surprise’.
The firm supplies multiple retailers such as Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons and the majority of independent retailers in the market as well as restaurants and catering establishments.
Along with winning many accolades from within the food industry, Jason is Chairman of the West Midlands Region of the Institute of Directors (IoD).
He was the youngest person ever to be appointed as an IoD Chairman and also to hold the status of ‘Chartered Director,’ which is the highest qualification the IoD can award.
If that wasn’t enough on his plate, Jason is Chairman of the Development Board of Aston University and was awarded an honorary doctorate from this university in 2014.
Jason also serves as a Non-Executive Director of University Hospitals Foundation Trust and Chairs the Child Poverty Commission Board as well as the West Midlands Police Business Crime Partnership.
In addition, away from his business life Jason has supported and raised many hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities, including Macmillan Cancer Care, Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), Cure Leukaemia and WellChild amongst others.
He was famously named ‘The Spice Man’ when recognised by HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace Garden Party.
On receiving the award, IoD West Midlands Chairman, Jason Wouhra adds: “It is a great honour and I feel so humbled and blessed to have received an OBE at such a young age.
“It is the support of my peers and teams that have aided my growth and development to enable me to receive this wonderful recognition. Thank you to those who have helped and supported me on my journey. I hope I shall continue to grow and help others around me.”
IoD West Midlands Regional Director, Calum Nisbet states: “I was absolutely delighted to hear this wonderful news. Jason has been a fantastic advocate for hard working company directors in our region over many years.
“He is one of the family members running East End Foods, a £200 million company based in the West Midlands. Jason is the most generous person I know and to my knowledge has never refused to help an IoD Member seeking help or advice”
There are a total of 1,109 people on the Queen's Birthday Honours list, of whom 438 are awarded an MBE, 221 an OBE and 303 a BEM.