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Royal Marines get a curry treat

Arfan Razak, owner of Nottingham’s The Curry Lounge, has honoured hundreds of Royal Marines that have recently returned from active ser- vice in Afghanistan. A special event was held for the men and women of 40 Commando Royal Marines at their base in Taunton, Somerset, after Remembrance Sunday. Arranged by The British Forces Foundation, the evening began with a traditional Indian meal prepared by Arfan (better known as Raz) before moving into a transformed assembly hall for a spe- cial comedy show by several celebrity comedians.

“I’ve long admired the outstanding dedication of the Armed Forces and the great sacrifices they make,” says Raz. “The fact is that these brave men and women put their lives on the line and I’m humbled by the way they downplay this and say that they’re just doing their job. So, I decided to show my appre- ciation by doing my job and cooking a meal worthy of these troops.”

Raz had already done a lot for Help for Heroes and as a result was invited by The British Forces Foundation to the 40 Commando Royal Marines evening. The British Forces Foundation is a charitable organisation that helps to boost the morale of British service-

Prashad reaches Ramsay final

Bradford restaurant Prashad, which specialises in vegetarian Gujarati street food, narrowly missed being named as Ramsay’s Best Restaurant in the Gordon Ramsay TV competition. The eventual winner was the Michelin- starred Casamia from Westbury on Trym near Bristol.

Prashad beat off competition from Sheffield’s Milestone restaurant to reach the final, which was broadcast in early November on Channel 4. In the second of the two semi finals of Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, the winners of the British, French, Indian and North African heats faced further tests to try and secure a place in the final. The four restaurants received visits from undercover diners sent in by Gordon Ramsay. At this point two restaurants were eliminated, leaving Milestone and Prashad to battle it out.

The remaining restaurants then received a surprise visit from Gordon Ramsay, chef Angela Hartnett and res- taurant critic Simon Davies and were challenged to setup a ‘One Night Only’ pop-up restaurant in London in just one day. Prashad succeeded and in the final with Casamia were put in charge of Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus restaurant in Knightsbridge, where they ran a full

Spice Business Magazine service for 30 distinguished diners.

Over 12,000 restaurants were initially nominated for the programme, which saw Gordon Ramsay travel the length and the breadth of the UK in search of ‘exceptional restaurants that deliver gastronomic perfection’. In the heats, Prashad, located in Horton Grange Road, Bradford, defeated Southall restaurant Brilliant in the Indian cat- egory, a group which attracted over 2,000 nominations. Following the ini- tial programme Gordon told the team at Prashad ‘you’ve raised the bar in this competition’ and described the food as ‘the best vegetarian cuisine’ and ‘extraordinary’.

Prashad was established in 1992 by Mohan and Kaushy Patel, initially selling traditional Indian snacks and sweets. It has developed into an award- winning restaurant offering traditional Gujarati and Punjabi vegetarian cuisine with Mohan and Kaushy working along- side oldest son Bobby Patel and his wife Minal. The kitchen is the domain of Minal and Kaushy while Bobby and Mohan work ‘front of house’.

Bobby Patel says, “To be nominated for Gordon Ramsay’s programme was fantastic but to actually make the


final was an amazing feat for a small Northern restaurant. Although it was slightly disappointing not to win it has been a terrific experience and I strongly believe that we have shown the whole country that you do not have to be in London to eat well.”

He continues, “We are all very pas- sionate about food and it is reward- ing to introduce new customers to the very best Indian vegetarian cuisine. Since the programme was broad- cast the restaurant has been packed every night and I hope that people who wouldn’t normally consider eating veg- etarian meals will come along and see what we have to offer.”

Prashad benefits from business advice and support from Bradford Council’s enterprise service Kickstart, which has led to the firm securing funding for professional services. Councillor David Green, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration and Economy, says: “It is great to see Kickstart playing a part in business success stories like Prashad and everyone there should be very proud of reaching this stage of such a high-pro- file competition.”

December 2010

men and women by producing top quality shows both in Afghanistan and back in the UK.

Mark Cann, chief executive of The British Forces Foundation, adds, “Events, such as the one in Taunton, are our way of conveying the gratitude of the British public for the work of the Armed Forces. Those taking part offer their time and talent without charge, which is why it’s fantastic when a chef of Raz’s calibre offers to support us.Troops returning from the front- line often tell us that curry is one of the foods they miss the most, so they were thrilled to be served some truly authentic dishes by Raz and his team.”

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