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News & Views Chefs take healthy curry classes


Cyrus Todiwala MBE with Ed Baines and Giles Thompson


London’s Tower Hamlets Council and NHS Tower Hamlets are running spe- cial classes for local curry chefs, as they are worried that a lot of restau- rants are serving dishes which are too high in salt, fats and calories, poten- tially damaging the health of local residents.


One restaurant The Tale of India, in London’s Docklands, is for example no longer frying onions, garlic, chillies and ginger for the curry base in ghee, but using rapeseed or other oils which are much lower in saturated fat.They are also using less spice and ensuring they do not overcook their vegetables.


But it has all been done in such a way that the customers have not noticed.


Spice Business Magazine


Zubeer Ahmed Laskar, head chef and owner of the Tale of India, is delighted with the results. “The customers still love the food and I realised it hasn’t effected my business because it is not more expensive. In fact it’s very good for business because we are a healthy restaurant,” he says.


Tower Hamlets council and the NHS recruited Cyrus Todiwalla MBE with Ed Baines and Giles Thompson of Cafe Spice Namaste to teach other chefs the secrets of his healthy curries. The workshops, which have proved popu- lar, are aimed at tackling obesity and improving health in the borough.


Tower Hamlets is home to one of the largest Bangladeshi populations in


41 March 2011


the country. Research has found that Bangladeshis have the highest mor- tality rate from coronary heart disease of any ethnic minority group in the UK. They are also three to five times more likely to suffer kidney disease than others. Experts think that excess salt, fatty and oily foods are possible factors.


Michele Sandelson, a public health dietician from NHS Tower Hamlets, says, “By offering the free healthier cooking workshops to local food busi- nesses we want to ensure people can have the choice of enjoying healthier food when eating out.”


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