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Trailblazing Viceroy celebrates
30 years in business
compete for the first shine more brightly.”
British Curry Awards Sukur has a keen sense of community
in 2005 because of and on average four times a year he
the floods. However invites about 40 children, all less than
he says, “The British 10 years of age, to his restaurant and
Curry Awards is by takes them to his kitchen to show them
far the best awards. I how the chef cook make naan bread.
took some local cus- He sees these children as his ‘brand
tomers and friends ambassadors’. “They just can’t wait to
to the Awards in 2006 share their exciting escapade with their
and hey were wowed parents, grandparents and friends,” he
by the dazzle and the says. I remember one five-year-old
spectacle. They were child who had distaste for Indian curry.
amazed how British Then he was taken to the kitchen and
Curry Awards could the tandoori chef showed him how to
Thirty years ago, in 1980, Sukur Ali put together such a make a nan. He was fascinated. He
started The Viceroy at Carlisle and wonder. Certainly the Awards were was enticed to take one bite. He said
so this year celebrates three decades instrumental in bringing fame to my ‘yummy!’ Next day he came with his
in business. This is believed to have restaurant and curry to Cumbria.” parents and ate a full meal.”
been the first curry restaurant in He has an altogether different view In general Mr Sukur says he is opti-
Cumbria and Sukur has blazed a trail about impostor awards. He says, mistic about the future of this industry
that many others have since followed. “Students who cheat can never be and of the Viceroy. Mr Sukur has four
(It is estimated that there are now 48 the same as the bonafide ones. So sons and one of them is keenly inter-
Indian restaurants and takeaways in the mushrooming growth of impos- ested to step into his father’s shoes, so
Cumbria.) tor awards will create a sharp contrast the family business could be continued
Sukur Ali arrived at Oldham, against which the bonafide awards will into the next generation.
Manchester from Bangladesh in 1969
at the age of fourteen. His first job
was at the Dilkhush restaurant in
Manchester but Sukur ventured out on
his own for the first time in 1973 with
Taj Mahal, also in Manchester.
Seven years later The Viceroy opened
with a capacity 70 people. He says, “I
was told Carlisle was a big town with
no curry restaurant and so I came to
take advantage of the monopoly!”
The restaurant is now well known and
very popular, and has come within the
top 100 restaurants in the UK by the
British Curry Awards. Sukur says the
secret behind his continuous success
is ‘good food, good service and good
recommendation’. Diners have come
from as far as America and Australia
and it has also become a focal point for
VIPs and celebrities.
While the restaurant has been a suc-
cess, there have been setbacks along
the way. For example in January 2005
there was a severe flood in Carlisle,
and there was 5ft of water in his res-
taurant which was closed 13 months.
Sukur regrets that he could not
Spice Business Magazine 41 February | March 2010
spice_37.indd 41 11/02/2010 00:09
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