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‘Spice Queen’: Is this Asian housewife Bradford’s answer to Nigella Lawson?

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SPICE QUEEN: Parveen Ashraf hails from Bradford, which has held its title as Britain’s ‘Curry Capital’ for four years

SPICE QUEEN: Parveen Ashraf hails from Bradford, which has held its title as Britain’s ‘Curry Capital’ for four years

This lady is on a mission to teach the nation to cook Indian and believes that her book 'Parveen The Spice Queen' is her secret weapon - well not that secret really as it’s available to buy!

Proud of her culture and cooking, a tumour-defying local mum brings together the flavours of Asia with a huge dollop of Yorkshire common sense.

After successfully defeating a serious illness, Bradford-born Parveen Ashraf arrived at a pivotal juncture in her life, and decided to leave the corporate working day behind and turn her passion for food into her career.

The 51-year-old married mother-of-three has been fuelled by the desire to cook for the man in her life and her children, for whom she believes is essential to provide good, wholesome and healthy food.

For almost a decade, Parveen has taught Indian cooking, run cookery demonstrations and catered at glamorous Bollywood-themed dinner parties. Now, she brings all of this experience to life in her step-by-step cookbook.  

Her first book ‘Parveen The Spice Queen’, includes every favourite traditional delight including Chicken Masala, Lamb Bhuna and Samosas.  

KITCHEN TOOL: Beautifully illustrated and full of anecdotes from Parveen’s childhood, this book belongs in every kitchen

KITCHEN TOOL: Beautifully illustrated and full of anecdotes from Parveen’s childhood, this book belongs in every kitchen

But what makes Parveen’s culinary masterpiece stand out is her innovative “spice bags,” which are little parcels of pre-mixed spices designed to work hand-in-hand with her recipes, taking the fear and uncertainty out of Indian cooking.

Parveen recognised that there had been a shift away from traditional cooking and that more and more people were relying on ready meals and jars to fit in with a busy lifestyle.

“Even in Asian families, the art of cooking was being lost and this struck a chord,” says Parveen.

“Having been asked to teach the daughter of a family friend how to cook simple Indian meals in preparation for getting married, I realised that so many young people today did not know their way around a kitchen and appeared scared to even give it a try.

“Hopefully the combination of my book and the spice bags will give even the beginner the confidence to try.”

She recalls that the focal point of family life was family meal times when all seven siblings, mum and dad would sit down to the evening meal, eat chat and spend time with one another, she says of her childhood that was a wonderful time "were like the Asian Waltons!"

Parveen’s real love affair with food began in the 70’s watching her mother and big sister cook “amazing food” and all her recipes are based on the ones her mother used to use.

The only difference, says Parveen, is that her mother “cooked by eye” and didn’t actually measure anything. Parveen's recipes are thought through very carefully with each gram of spice being weighed precisely.

Parveen designed a pre-made “spice bags” out of sheer necessity when her son, Imran, left home for university. She wrote a few recipes and emailed them over to him.

Unfortunately, much to Imran’s dismay, the dishes did not turn out the way he wanted, so she blended a few sachets of spices and posted them off to him.

Despite her journey has being full of ups and downs and at times sheer hard work, now her determination, patience and perseverance has paid off with the launch of her book.

She says “It was bitter sweet time as I had lost my mother a few months before and naturally the book is dedicated to her.”

Bradford tikkas all the boxes! Lord Mayor’s Civic Reception marks six years as Curry Capital Winner

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CURRY CAPITAL: The winning restaurateurs with Lord Mayor Geoff Reid and members of the ‘Visit Bradford’ tourism team

CURRY CAPITAL: The winning restaurateurs with Lord Mayor Geoff Reid and members of the ‘Visit Bradford’ tourism team

The humble curry is having a bit of a moment in Bradford, as the city has cooked its way in a flurry of spice and tastiness to its sixth consecutive win in the esteemed national competition.

The winning teams behind this year's Curry Capital competition gathered in the grandeur of Bradford’s City Hall on Thursday 1st December, to celebrate the tremendous win.

Hosted by Lord Mayor Councillor Geoff Reid and his wife the Lady Mayoress, the official awards presentation celebrated the record-breaking achievements of those involved in Bradford's 2016 Curry Capital Bid, as the city retained the title for another year.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, said: “To have been crowned Curry Capital for the sixth consecutive year is a great honour and a fantastic accolade for the city. I would like to thank the team behind the bid for working tirelessly to keep a hold of the title.”

Guests at the event were welcomed into the City Hall with a drinks reception and followed by afternoon tea before the teams were awarded with official Curry Capital trophies.

Among those receiving awards for their contribution to the competition were: Shabir Hussain of Akbars, Fawad Shoukat of Aakash, Mohammed Rafiq of Kiplings and Faisal Hussein of Shimla Spice.

Each year, the entry is co-ordinated by the tourism team at Visit Bradford – the destination marketing organisation for Bradford Metropolitan District City Council.

Tricia Tillotson, tourism manager at Visit Bradford, said: “To be named as Curry Capital of Britain for a record-breaking sixth year in a row is amazing and we're very grateful to all of those who have been involved in this years’ bid.

“It has been an honour to receive an invitation to such a prestigious event by the Lord Mayor to celebrate the achievements and success of all those who helped to make the 2016 bid bigger and better than ever.”

The event was attended by Colleen Groves, the wife of the late Peter Groves, founder of the Curry Capital Competition. Mrs Groves praised the Bradford team for their level of co-operation and the promotion of community throughout the competition.

Other guests included Soraya Overend and Jacqueline Vicars from Bradford Ministry of Food Centre, who held a workshop as part of the Curry Capital BID which taught people from Fresh Start 4 U to cook curry with ingredients from the Curry Capital garden. The Fresh Start 4 U project helps substance abusers with their addictions and is one of several community projects supported by Bradford's 2016 Curry Capital bid.

For more information about Visit Bradford and the Bradford District, visit: http://www.visitbradford.com/

Bradford bags double hat trick after being crowned winner of Curry Capital of Britain for six years in a row

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DELIGHTED: The Curry Capital of Britain team representing Bradford and District, celebrates sixth successive win of the title

DELIGHTED: The Curry Capital of Britain team representing Bradford and District, celebrates sixth successive win of the title

Super sixer! 

Visit Bradford, the tourism department for Bradford Metropolitan District Council, has achieved the unthinkable, bagging a double hat trick after being crowned the winner of the Curry Capital of Britain competition, for six years in a row.

The team continued its winning streak with its bid this year focusing on the theme of celebrating achievements.The restaurants chosen to represent Bradford this year were Akbar’s in Thornbury, Aakash in Cleckheaton, Kipling’s at Greengates and Shimla Spice in Keighley.

This year, Bradford’s bid to win the hotly-contested accolade for a record-breaking sixth consecutive year kicked off with a special Curry Capital Olympics event, followed by a traditional garden party celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday and a dedicated fire safety campaign in conjunction with the Yorkshire Fire Service.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, portfolio for Environment, Sport and Culture at City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: “To say I’m thrilled is an understatement – I’m absolutely over the moon.  

profilecurrycapital-300x450“Each year our bids have to be bigger and better than ever before to retain our crown of Curry Capital of Britain.  

“To win the award for a record-breaking six years in a row is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team .

“I’d particularly like to thank the Visit Bradford team along with all of the participating restaurants and other stakeholders who have got involved and backed our bid; without out them this just would not be possible. Also I’d like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us in the competition.

Judges praised the team at Visit Bradford for their Curry Capital events, activities and charitable contributions surrounding the competition. Colleen Groves, one of the founders of the Curry Capital Competition said: “‘It is a well-deserved victory. The Bradford team members work so well together to best demonstrate the level of cooperation and community spirit that already exists in the city.

“This is the kind of community cohesion that Peter Groves envisaged when he set up the competition 15 years ago.

Building on what has now become known as the ‘Bradford Blueprint’, each year Visit Bradford’s entry into the Curry Capital of Britain competition works to promote community cohesion through a mutual love of Asian food, while raising much needed funds for charitable causes, such as the Curry Tree Foundation.

Tricia Tillotson, tourism manager at Visit Bradford, said: “Each year the competition gets tougher; the expectation for us to produce an award-winning bid grows with every time we win the title, plus other cities continually up their game and certainly give us a run for our money.

“As well as thanking everyone who has made this unbelievable achievement possible, I’d also like to congratulate all of the other cities taking part in this year’s competition.”

Fire engines and fire-y currys

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TURNING UP THE HEAT: Visit Bradford rounds off bid to become Curry Capital of Britain for sixth year running with collaborative fire-safety scheme

TURNING UP THE HEAT: Visit Bradford rounds off bid to become Curry Capital of Britain for sixth year running with collaborative fire-safety scheme

Curry Capital joins forces with the Yorkshire Fire Service

The Bradford District has rounded off its bid to be crowned Curry Capital of Britain by joining forces with the West Yorkshire Fire Service to launch an important fire-safety initiative.

Visit Bradford, together with the West Yorkshire Fire Service, has posted off this year's official entry into the competition with the hope of winning the prestigious title of Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth year running, while highlighting  a fire-safety campaign, which is being targeted at restaurants across the region.

Tricia Tillotson, Tourism Manager at Visit Bradford, said: “The competition this year has been tougher than ever, but we have created a unique bid that is a celebration of curry across the district that we hope will be enough to retain our crown. We are delighted that Balvinder and the team at the West Yorkshire Fire Service have launched their safety initiative as part of Bradford's Curry Capital Bid.”

The fire service and the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) have engaged with Akbar's, Aakash, Kipplings and Shimla Spice; the four restaurants representing Visit Bradford in this year's Curry Capital of Britain competition.  The purpose of the initiative is to engage restaurateurs in the Asian community across the Bradford District and beyond to share important fire safety messages while giving one-to-one advice on how to ensure fire-safety is a priority for the business.

Councillor Val Slater, Deputy Leader of Bradford District Metropolitan Council, said: “The Curry Capital of Britain competition creates a real sense of community throughout the Bradford District. The fact that Bradford has been crowned Curry Capital of Britain for five years running is testament to the fantastic food and drink offering in our city. To have the four restaurants from our team this year and the local fire service working together to promote fire safety across the Bradford District just goes to show that the competition really does brings cohesion to communities through curry right across the District.”

It is hoped that by building stronger links with businesses such as the restaurants representing the 2016 Curry Capital bid, the fire service can work to educate businesses and the local community on issues around and the importance of fire safety in the work place.

Balvinder Singh Bains, Service Manager at the West Yorkshire Fire Service, said: "This is just the first step of our new initiative and we're sure that as the campaign develops there will be lots of positive outcomes to be gained. We're delighted the four restaurants from this year's entry into the Curry Capital of Britian competition are joining forces to support our cause.  With them leading the way, we're confident other businesses will learn from their example that robust health and safety systems are integral to having a successful business, and that in working collaboratively together to raise awareness of the importance of fire-safety, together we're reducing the risk posed to themselves, their staff and their customers”.

Voting for the winner of Curry Capital of Britain 2016 is now open.  The initial competition will decide the Curry Capitals of England (minus London), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The regional winners will then go head-to-head – along with London – to compete for the overall winner’s title of Curry Capital of Britain.

People can vote via www.visitbradord.com/currycapital, email vote@fedrest.com, or in person via the Visitor Information Centre. Voting closes for the Curry Capital of Britain competition on 1 September.  The winner of the Curry Capital of England competition will be announced on 13 September, with the overall winner of the Curry Capital of Britain revealed week commencing 10 October.

For more information about Bradford and the surrounding district, visit: http://www.visitbradford.com/

Can Bradford make it six years running?

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EXCITED: The team at Visit Bradford, along with some of the participating restaurateurs in this year's competition, along with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bradford

EXCITED: The team at Visit Bradford, along with some of the participating restaurateurs in this year's competition, along with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bradford

Curry Capital of Britain competition is back

Curryhouses from Bradford are joining forces to cook up some fantastic food...it can only mean one thing – the Curry Capital of Britain competition is back.

The city, which has been crowned victorious in the contest over the past five years aw over 60 honoured guests, VIPs and dignitaries descended on City Hall this week to enjoy a right royal celebration, marking Visit Bradford's official entry into the Curry Capital of Britain competition 2016.

Sitting down to fantastical tables set with faux-grass cloths and gingham-covered vases filled with fresh wild flowers, everyone agreed the atmosphere and ambience was at an ‘all time high’ - and that the thoughtful setting added authenticity and pizzazz to the event.

Having previously won the competition and awarded the accolade of Curry Capital for a record-breaking five years in a row, the stakes were high to ensure that this year's entry was award-worthy of title number six.

This year, the destination marketing organisation's entry has been all about celebration.

The bid launched with the cadets of 2387 Squadron Air Training Corps in Thornbury taking part in a special sponsored Curry Capital Olympics and culminated with an indoor garden party in the Banqueting Suite of City Hall, to tie in with the Queen celebrating her 90th birthday earlier this year.

Bradford Council leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said Bradford had done ‘exceptionally well’ in the Curry Capital awards to win the national competition five years running.

She said: “The quality of our restaurants is, of course, renowned but what has also set us apart is the way which food has been used across all the events to bring communities together.”

Cllr Hinchcliffe added: “I know the tourism team has worked really hard to put in another excellent bid. We're hoping it's another winner.”

As well as Cllr Hinchcliffe and judges from the Curry Capital of Britain competition, other guests included the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bradford – and two winners of a social media competition - to experience the exclusive VIP event; and Grace Neil and Hazel O'Neill – two ladies also celebrating their 90th birthdays this year – acting as honorary 'Queens of Curry' at the royal-themed garden party.

Guests enjoyed an array of garden-party-style finger food – but prepared with an Asian twist  by the restaurants taking part in this year's bid.

In addition, guests were entertained with outdoor games, such as a hoop toss and skittles, as well as enjoying a live display of authentic Indian dancing.

Tricia Tillotson, tourism manager at Visit Bradford, said: “It’s been a huge success. Everyone who attended said what a wonderful time they had and that they thoroughly enjoyed the theme of our 'Royal Garden Party'.”

She continued: “As this year's bid has been all about celebrating extraordinary achievements, from our record-breaking Curry Capital of Britain wins, to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and of course Her Majesty's 90th birthday, it seemed fitting for our bid to culminate in a celebration that was fit for the Queen.

“In fact, yesterday's event even took place in a room where the Queen once dined herself while visiting Bradford.

“Of course, the event would not have been possible without the generous support of all of our stakeholders and sponsors. I'd like to thank them all and whatever the outcome of the competition now, we can honestly say we did our best and have had a brilliant time celebrating our achievements in the process.”

Unlike previous years, the format of the 2016 competition is changing. The initial competition will decide Curry Capitals of England - minus London - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The national winning teams, plus London, will then go head-to-head to compete for the title of Curry Capital of Britain.

Voting for their winner of Curry Capital of Britain 2016 is still open. People can vote via www.visitbradord.com/currycapital, email vote@fedrest.com, or in person via the Visitor Information Centre.

Voting closes for the Curry Capital of Britain competition on 1st September.

The winner of the Curry Capital of England competition will be announced on 13th September, with the overall winner of the Curry Capital of Britain revealed week commencing 10th October.

Spicing up sport: Curry Capital bid meets the Olympic Games in Bradford

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RECORD BREAKERS: 35 cadets from Squadron Air Training Corps raised money for worthy causes via curry-inspired Olympic events

RECORD BREAKERS: 35 cadets from Squadron Air Training Corps raised money for worthy causes via curry-inspired Olympic events

As Bradford aims to retain its Curry Capital crown for a sixth consecutive year, the latest Curry Tree Foundation fundraising event has been held in the city this week.

On Thursday 21st July, 35 cadets - from Thornbury’s 2387 Squadron Air Training Corps - came together to compete in a series of Olympic-inspired contests with a tasty twist.

Youngsters took part in curry-themed relay races - using kebabs for batons, shot-putted with onion bahjis and fashioned roti breads for discus throwing.

Cadets collected sponsorship for their efforts, with proceeds going to deserving causes connected with the Curry Tree Trust.

While raising much needed funds for worthy causes, the cadets also successfully broke the record they set last year in a chapatti archery event. 

In 2015, the record was 115 successful shots on target within a 15 minute time frame. This past week, the cadets improved on this score with an extra two successful shots on target within the time frame – a total of 117 shots in 15 minutes.

Commenting on the night’s event, Cllr Sarah Ferriby, portfolio for Environment, Sport and Culture at City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: “The cadets were full of enthusiasm and determined to break the record they set last year in the chapatti archery contest.

“It was certainly a celebration when the two extra shots hit the target within the allocated time frame.”

This year, the format of the Curry Capital competition is changing, with the initial competition deciding the Curry Capitals of England (minus London), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The regional winners will then go head-to-head – along with London – to compete for the overall winner’s title of Curry Capital of Britain.

Tricia Tillotson, tourism manager at Visit Bradford, believes the city has what it takes to retain the sought-after crown.

She added: “Each year as we continue to build on our previous successes we know we have to strive harder to make our bid bigger and better. 

“While the main event of our bid into this year’s competition is still a top secret, the event last night was a great way to kick off the celebrations, and mark the start of what we’re sure will be a great campaign.”

Quest for Curry Capital Commences

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GOING FOR GOLD: The Curry Capital team for 2016 have been revealed this week as they aim for their sixth successive crown

GOING FOR GOLD: The Curry Capital team for 2016 have been revealed this week as they aim for their sixth successive crown

Familiar faces aiming for sixth successive title for Bradford

Four restaurateurs from Bradford are coming together to cook up some delicious delights...it can only mean one thing – the Curry Capital of Britain competition is back.

The city, which has been crowned victorious in the contest over the past five years, announced their official team earlier this week as they prepare to go head-to-head with the teams from across the country.

Following a public vote, locals have chosen Akbar’s, Shimla Spice, Aakash and Kiplings to work alongside Visit Bradford – the destination marketing organisation for Bradford Metropolitan District Council - in battling it out in the national competition to be crowned Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth consecutive year.

The team, which successfully navigated their way to title number five last year, already have experience in the competition and will be looking to cook up the winning formula once again this year.

Commenting on the team announcement, Tricia Tillotson, Tourism Manager at Visit Bradford, said: “We're delighted with the outcome of the public vote and look forward to working with the restaurants that the public has chosen to work alongside us, as part of this year's team.

“We've a huge task ahead of us if we're to defend our title, win the competition and bring the accolade of Curry Capital of Britain back to Bradford for a record-breaking sixth time.

“That said, I'm confident we have a strong bid and an even stronger team behind us and we will give it our all.”

Unlike previous years, the format of the 2016 competition is changing. The initial competition will decide Curry Capitals of England (minus London), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

CHAMPIONS: Bradford are the reigning title holders and have not relinquished their crowns since their first win in 2011

CHAMPIONS: Bradford are the reigning title holders and have not relinquished their crowns since their first win in 2011

The national winning teams, plus London, will then go head-to-head to compete for the title of Curry Capital of Britain.

Tricia continued: “The format of the competition this year means it's going to be tougher than ever to retain our crown as the Curry Capital of Britain.

“That said, we've some great plans up our sleeve and are excited to have some great partners on board to help deliver this year's bid.

“I really do hope locals, as well as curry lovers far and wide, get behind us and support us once again in the competition by voting for the city.”

People can vote for Bradford via www.visitbradord.com/currycapital, email vote@fedrest.com, or in person via the Visitor Information Centres.

Voting closes for the Curry Capital of Britain competition on 1st September 2016.

Curry Capital sets sights on super six!

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CURRY ROYALTY: Bradford will be aiming to become the official Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth year running in 2016

CURRY ROYALTY: Bradford will be aiming to become the official Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth year running in 2016

Bradford bidding to find the ‘magic curry formula’ once again

For the past half a decade, Bradford has been the unprecedented Curry Capital of Britain, landing the crown for five consecutive years.

Now, as the bidding process begins for the 2016 title, the city is once again aiming to make history as it looks to make it six in a row.

Visit Bradford, the destination marketing organisation for Bradford Council, will be organising the bid with voting now open for nominations for the restaurants that will form the bidding team.

People can vote for their favourite Asian restaurants from across the Bradford district, with the top four restaurants going forward to represent the district in the Curry Capital of Britain competition.

Patricia Tillotson, Tourism Manager for Bradford Council, said: “We have so many places to get a great curry in our district and we all have our favourite restaurants, so we want people to support theirs by voting in this competition.”

The Curry Capital of Britain is an annual competition which sees cities from all over the UK compete to be crowned the nation’s Curry Capital.

This year, the rules have changed and the competition will decide the Curry Capital of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland plus London who will all then compete for The Curry Capital of Britain title.

It’s expected that over 20 cities and regions will take part in the contest.

Peter Grove founder and organiser of the Curry Capital of Britain competition, said: “Bradford has found a magic formula and understands the underlying message of the event, which is to promote cohesion where there was division.

“They have also used curry as a bonding agent to bring different aspects of Bradford society together. We will be using Visit Bradford’s approach to the competition as a blueprint for other cities.”

As part of the competition, all entering cities must host a range of fundraising events, with proceeds going to The Curry Tree - a charitable fund, raising and allocating money to deserving causes concerned with poverty, disaster and malnutrition.

People can vote for their favourite restaurant to be part of Bradford’s Curry Capital bidding team in one of three ways: online at www.visitbradford.com/currycapital, via email at vote@fedrest.com, or in person at the Visitor Information Centres in Bradford, Haworth, Ilkley and Saltaire.

Voting closes for this stage of the Curry Capital of Britain competition on Monday 6th June.

Curry Capital: City receives fifth title in as many years

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CELEBRATIONS: The Curry Capital bid team are all smiles with their fifth trophy in a row

CELEBRATIONS: The Curry Capital bid team are all smiles with their fifth trophy in a row

For the past five years, Bradford has been the unprecedented curry capital of Britain, scooping the annual title year-on-year despite fierce competition from over 20 cities across the country.

Last month, the West Yorkshire representatives picked up their fifth straight title with the bid team finally able to get their hands on the trophy on Wednesday 11th November.

A special Lord Mayor's Civic Reception was held to celebrate the team’s incredible achievements where the title was officially unveiled by Lord Mayor, Cllr Joanne Dodds.

SONY DSCCllr Dodds presented the trophy to the triumphant bid team and praised the whole city’s contribution to the award.

“The whole team has worked extremely hard to achieve the Curry Capital award and I am delighted to see all that effort rewarded once again this year,” she said.

“This is a truly magnificent achievement. To secure the title for a fifth consecutive year is mould-breaking and a fantastic accolade for our city.

“I would just like to thank everyone for their hard work and support and here’s to six years on the trot.”

The Lord Mayor was joined by stakeholders and partners from previous year’s bids as well as the 2015 team for the reception, including representatives from the restaurants: Akbars, Aakash, Kiplings and Shimla Spice.

This year saw Visit Bradford and the restaurant team work alongside Bradford's Probation Office and the Fresh Start for 4U project to produce a Curry Capital Garden as part of the flagship project in their bid.  

There was also a Peshwari Paws Teddy Bear's Picnic and chapatti challenge organised to bring communities together.

Speaking on behalf of the businesses, Mohammed Rafiq, of Kiplings, said: “This year, the other cities competing for the Curry Capital title had our blueprint to work to. On paper it looks good but without the unity we have, as restaurateurs, it will not lead to success.

“Patricia Tillotson (Visit Bradford) and the gang have done a fantastic job coming together with the council in recent years and that is the true blueprint to success, not what is on paper.

We never thought we could win five years in a row but thanks to everybody’s help in the city we have been able to achieve this.”

Five in a row! Bradford retains Curry Capital crown

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WINNERS: The 2015 Curry Capital bid team from Bradford celebrated their fifth title in as many years earlier this week

WINNERS: The 2015 Curry Capital bid team from Bradford celebrated their fifth title in as many years earlier this week

After clinching their first Curry Capital title in 2011, Bradford has more than excelled in living up to its title. So much so, that the city has just retained its crown for the fifth year in a row.

In previous years, the city’s bid has been praised for its individuality and commitment to promoting inclusivity, something the 2015 team have once again emulated.

This year saw Visit Bradford and the team of four chosen restaurants work alongside Bradford's Probation Office and the Fresh Start 4U project to produce a Curry Capital Garden.

There was also a fun social media campaign where ‘Peshwari Paws’ - the Curry Capital mascot, had fun around the district, taking photos at various venues and logging his adventure on Twitter.

The bid was eventually handed over last month at the Peshwari Paws Teddy Bear's Picnic where probation service users helped chefs from the selected restaurants prepare a variety of picnic dishes, served up to the Deputy Lord Mayor and guests.

On Tuesday 20th October, Bradford was officially named the Curry Capital of Britain once again, as the city celebrated an unprecedented fifth crown.

Bradford Council tourism manager, Patricia Tillotson, said the award came as a surprise to the team, but they were thrilled to hear the news.

“It’s absolutely amazing to win it five times, it would be for any city,” she said. “The team have really worked hard on the bids over the last five years and this year we have gone that little bit further.

“The other teams had a blue print this year of what we used in the past and therefore we thought it would be good to really push the boundaries once again. Instead of just doing things at a local level through cohesion, we did it at regional and national levels as well.

“I couldn’t believe it when we won it three times in a row and then it was a real shock to get it the fourth year.

“Even though we knew we had worked really hard on the bid this year, you cannot expect to just win it for a fifth time. We knew all the other cities had put in good bids as well so it was a fantastic surprise to receive the phone call saying we had won.”

This year’s team of restaurants included: Akbars, Aakash, Kiplings and Shimla Spice, who worked alongside Bradford Council throughout the bid.

Speaking on behalf of the businesses, Mohammed Rafiq, of Kiplings, said the fifth title was even more special than previous years.

“This is a momentous occasion really because it is unheard of,” he said. “No other city in the UK can claim a national title like this in the country’s biggest food industry.

“You’ve got London, Birmingham and Manchester – the biggest cities, and then you have Bradford here and size wise we are no match to them.

“However, this award just goes to show that the quality of food we provide here far excels all others.

“I’m a firm believer that we set the standard for the rest of the country when it comes to curry and that is shown by us winning this title for five years running.”

This year’s Curry Capital top five cities:

  • Bradford
  • Glasgow
  • Brighton
  • Leicester
  • Birmingham

Cafe Zoya: New look, same amazing tastes

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As Bradford once again bids to retain its Curry Capital crown for a record-breaking fourth consecutive year, one award-winning restaurant in the city is leading the way in serving up authentic Indian cuisine.

After six weeks of refurbishment work earlier this year, Cafe Zoya reopened their doors to the public just after Ramadan, bringing new looks and new tastes to diners across the city.

Replacing their whole interior dining space with a fresh, vintage design, the new environment provides the perfect space to dine in style, with natural light complimenting the new vintage lighting.

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From the restaurant to the onsite sweet and dessert centre, Cafe Zoya is as visually captive as the food is delicious as sumptuous menus offer up the finest dishes to all visitors.

Director, Mr Lukman, known to all as ‘Lucky’ explained why the restaurant decided it was time to ‘make a change’ and remain at the forefront of Bradford’s ever-blossoming curry industry.

“It had been three years since our last refurbishment and with the ever changing desires of our customers, we decided it was time once again to give back to the diners,” he said.

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“Leeds Road has become famous as the new Bradford Curry Mile and we are very proud to take our place on this historic road and act as a stalwart for the whole community.

“Ever since Uncle Akbar Mughal founded this restaurant, we have prided ourselves on serving only the finest foods and desserts and thanks to our amazing team of chefs and waiting staff, we continue to live by these principles today.”

Cafe Zoya’s expansive sweet centre boasts dozens of traditional Asian sweets as well as desserts from around the world.

Still freshly prepared by hand every day, in the same way Mr Mughal did 50 years ago, the sweets have earned a reputation of their own throughout the years and are now presented in their new look surroundings.

SONY DSC“We have all types of people come down to Cafe Zoya, from politicians to sports people and our loyal customer base,” Mr Lukman added. “The one thing everybody has in common is their love of our desserts.

“No matter who walks through our doors, we treat everybody with the utmost care and it is our staff at the end of the day who have earned us our success.”

In recent months, Cafe Zoya has expanded into new territories with the opening of their onsite banqueting suite.

With the ability to cater for up to 200 guests at a time, the spacious area has all the facilities, from AV systems to projection screens, ablution facilities and prayer rooms, making it the ideal location for your special event.

With plans to expand into new cities across the country in the near future, it seems the words, and tastes, of Cafe Zoya will be on every person’s lips for a long time to come.

 

383 Leeds Rd,

Bradford

BD3 9LY

Tel: 01274 305333

Opening times:

Monday-Sunday 8am-midnight

Curry Royalty Crowned: City receives trophy as to round off ‘amazing bid’

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CHAMPIONS: The Curry Capital winning bid team finally got their hands on the trophy last weekend after being named as winners last month.

CHAMPIONS: The Curry Capital winning bid team finally got their hands on the trophy last weekend after being named as winners last month.

Bradford’s reign as the Curry Capital of Britain was cemented last weekend as the prestigious trophy returned ‘home’ for a fourth consecutive year.

At an awards ceremony at Zaara’s Indian Restaurant on Sunday, the Bradford bid team, made up of members from Visit Bradford and local restaurateurs, received their official accolade from the organisers of the Curry Capital of Britain competition.

Founder and organiser, Peter Grove, along with his wife Colleen, are becoming familiar faces in the city as they returned once again to hand over the trophy at an afternoon reception.

Special guests also included the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Mike Gibbons, and Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe.

AWARD: The trophy will remain in Bradford for an unprecedented fourth year in a row as the city is reaffirmed as the Curry Capital of Britain.

AWARD: The trophy will remain in Bradford for an unprecedented fourth year in a row as the city is reaffirmed as the Curry Capital of Britain.

Tricia Tillotson, Tourism Manager for Bradford Council, said it was great to finally receive the trophy after being confirmed as the official Curry Capital last month.

“We’re delighted to welcome Peter and his wife back to the Bradford district to officially present us with the Curry Capital of Britain award for the fourth time in a row,” she said.

“We know that this year’s competition was tough but we were delighted to learn that we had actually improved our score by nine per cent on last year’s marks.”

Attendees at the event enjoyed a buffet of Asian finger food provided by Zaara’s, as well as complementary drinks, while enjoying the atmosphere inside of the restaurant.

Ms Tillotson continued: “The awards event was a very special way to mark the occasion – no other city or region has ever won the accolade of Curry Capital of the Year consecutively this many times – and to celebrate the hard work of our winning team.

“It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon; celebrating success with good company, and of course, good Asian food.”

Visit Bradford’s bid for the 2014 title included a number of initiatives and activities, such as a series of poppadom challenges, an Asian afternoon tea and a healthy-style Asian cookbook created in connection with the NHS.

The recipe book is available from Bradford Visitor Information Centre and is free to takeaway or a donation can be made to the Curry Tree charity.