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As we enter 2010 we can only hope for giving to countries like Bangladesh, the requirement that chefs speak
an improvement over 2009, which was Pakistan and India. While this may English. It is nonsense and needs to be
not a good year for restaurants. The have impressed our forefathers, what sorted out.
snow and ice in January did not help our generation cares about is what
get the year off to a good start, nor actions are being taken in this country. In the UK the industry is taking some
did the increase in VAT back to 17.5%. We are British, and it is what happens steps to respond to Government con-
Perhaps the economy will improve and here that matters. It is in this country cerns that not enough is being done to
with it customer confidence so people that we can make our contribution felt. train and recruit in the UK. The recent
feel able to go out more often. This year David Cameron clearly understands Chef Summit heard of some interest-
will also be important, as it will see a this, but I am not sure that Gordon ing plans. We can only hope that if we
general election. David Cameron will Brown does. Whatever your views do our best to train and recruit in this
be battling Gordon Brown, and those are, it is important though that you country that the Government will intro-
who heard his speech at the British should get out and vote. If you stay at duce more sensible rules that allow
Curry Awards (see pages 28 and 29 of home you cannot complain at who gets us to recruit overseas in cases where
this issue) would have been impressed elected! One issue that whatever gov- there are genuine shortages.
with what David Cameron had to say. ernment comes to power will have to There have been some positive stories
Many people expect the Conservatives address is immigration. The present lately, which have put our industry in
to win and he showed he would be Government has, to be honest, made good light. Lasan of Birmingham for
someone that has sympathy for the a mess of it, especially with so many example was named the F Word Local
spice business sector if he becomes coming in on student visas to attend Restaurant of the Year. This shows that
PM. A high percentage of Asians have courses at bogus colleges. The Labour the British Curry Awards judges know
perhaps traditionally voted Labour, but Government has just announced some what they are doing! It also clearly
that cannot be taken for granted this new rules, but it may well be too little, demonstrates that curry has gone to
time. too late as so many have already come the next level and is capable of genuine
in. It is frustrating that restaurants innovation.
I recently attended a briefing by Gordon prepared to bend the rules can bring
Brown at which many well-known in people to work in their kitchens on
Indian Pakistani and Bangladeshi per- ‘student visas’ while those high quality
sonalities were present. Gordon Brown restaurants who abide by the rules and
told the audience how much money who want go get qualified chefs are
and support the government was faced with many barriers, including
spice_37.indd 3 11/02/2010 00:07
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