Tag Archive: chef

Renowned World Curry Festival heading for new look

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Hailing from the picturesque rolling hills of Yorkshire to the foothills of Penang in Malaysia, the World Curry Festival reaffirmed Bradford’s pole position on the global curry circuit.

For six year’s the bosses of the World Curry Festival have been putting on an annual sumptuously delightful week-long showcase for people who have a love of South Asian cuisine.

But now with some new major developments underway, Bradford’s next World Curry Festival is to be postponed until 2018.

The renowned event, which was due to take place this October in the city, will have a new-look programme and a new venue.

The Festival, the only one of its kind to take place in Britain, has grown year-on-year since its launch eight years ago, attracting some of the biggest names in international cuisine, such as top celebrity chef Ken Hom and Grand Master chef Hemant Oberoi.

REVERED: India’s most-famous celebrity chef Hamant Oberoi has very much been part of the Festival since its inception in 2011

REVERED: India’s most-famous celebrity chef Hamant Oberoi has very much been part of the Festival since its inception in 2011


Founder and director Zulfi Karim said: “We have decided to take a gap year.

“The last few years have been relentless both here in the UK and abroad for the Festival, and it was time to recharge ourselves and the brand.

“It's important, like any other business, that you take time out to plan and focus on the product for your visitors and partners and that's exactly what we will doing.

“As well as travelling looking for new recipe ideas, we will be able to spend more time planning and come back better than ever in 2018.

“We have some exciting ideas for developing the Festival and extending it to a new audience and we’re looking forward to bringing those to fruition.”

The World Curry Festival was born out of a desire to bring people together to enjoy a shared passion for good food, culture and community, a unique celebration of one of the nation’s and planet’s favourite cuisines.

“I’d just like to thank all our sponsors, contributors and participants for their continuing support and all those members of the public, who’ve been asking me when we were going to announce the dates, for their kind interest and good wishes,” said Zulfi.

“They won’t have too long to wait and we hope next year’s event will be the best yet!”

The Chef Test

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In previous weeks Asian Express has delved deep into the curry industry, looking at keeping it alive by teaching a new generation of chefs authentic techniques.

It is believed that the first appearance of curry on a menu was at the Coffee House in Norris Street, Haymarket, London in 1773, but things have changed dramatically since then.

We have found that some rogue chefs were ruining the reputation of South Asian cuisine in the UK, using excessive amounts of salt and food colouring that had direct links to poor health for the consumer.

MIXED BAG: Every chef has a different approach to South Asian cuisine

MIXED BAG: Every chef has a different approach to South Asian cuisine

Government authorities like Trading Standards and the Food Standards Agency have tried to monitor unhealthy ingredients, but chefs are asked to “voluntarily” remove dangerous food dyes from their dishes rather than being forced by law.

Now we are talking to a range of restaurants and takeaways from different schools of cookery and comparing their approaches to preparing the same dish.

Furthermore, we have looked at what television chefs are promoting on websites and in their cookery books, and whether their lists of ingredients are any more authentic or healthy than a takeaway.
We have been asking Yorkshire cooks and chefs to anonymously reveal their chicken tikka masala so you can compare and decide for yourself. Perhaps their might even be a recipe that looks familiar. There is also a recipe by a television chef thrown in there for good measure.

Our findings have been very positive. Exhibit A and C have no traces of red colouring and the chefs assured us that they use entirely fresh ingredients.

However Exhibit B features a tikka paste which the chef admitted he didn’t know its contents. It is these types of pastes that contain harmful dyes such as tartrazine.

It is important to recognise the fact that some businesses need to buy produce that is affordable and will allow them to continue trading, and food colouring is one way of sourcing cheaper ingredients.

The other factor to consider is the expectations of the customer – if they are used to seeing a bright sauce then the chef has to keep producing it.

Emer Timmins, a spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said: “All food additives, including colours such as tartrazine, are thoroughly tested for safety prior to approval by independent expert bodies, in particular the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

“An Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is established for each food additive. This is an estimate of the amount of an additive that could be routinely consumed every day over a lifetime with no appreciable health risk.
EU legislation restricts the use of additives to certain categories of foods and specified levels. These limits ensure that the amount consumed does not exceed safe levels, and that the level in food is the minimum necessary to achieve the intended purpose.

“As part of its programme of systematic re-evaluations of all food additives, EFSA has recently re-evaluated tartrazine, and confirmed its safety at currently permitted levels.”

The FSA has asked the UK food industry for a voluntary withdrawal on the use of the following six colours; Tartrazine (E102), Ponceau 4 R (E124), Sunset yellow (E110), Carmoisine (E122), Quinoline yellow (E104) and Allura Red (E129).This followed a study commissioned by the FSA, and conducted by Southampton University (between 2004 and 2007) to see if these colours had any effect on children’s behaviour. From July 2010 foods containing the six colours, all need to be labelled with the following ‘additional’ information; ‘name or E number of the colour(s)’: may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’.

Ghee is also on the FSA’s hit list as it is considered to be extremely unhealthy and high in cholesterol. They urge people to use vegetable or olive oil as a substitute.

The findings have been both enlightening and worrying, but overall it has cancelled out the stigma that all chefs use a bright red dye to create their chicken tikka masala and they take great pride in making something that is authentic.