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May I wish all our readers a Happy New Year for 2012. This will be a landmark year for the country, with the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and I hope it will also mark a turning point for the curry restaurant business as well.

The past 12 months have been difficult given the economic problems facing the country and the impact they have had on the hospitality sector. We have to prepare for even more testing times ahead, but perhaps the Olympics is a ray of hope for us all. Let us hope the Games make a big contribution to the curry industry and, as Boris Johnson said at the British Curry Awards, when visitors come to the Olympics they will find the real ‘home’ of the curry, with more restaurants than even Delhi and Mumbai!

My message to you all is let’s get ready as quickly as possible to welcome the world to London. It is really a once in a generation opportunity.

Thank also to everyone who came and took part in the British Curry Awards 2011. They were I am sure all would agree bigger and better than the six previous events and showed other ‘copycat’ awards how it is really done.

The exposure given to the industry as a result of the curry awards is tremendous. Just as one example the Guardian newspaper ran an article on January 8th on ‘The Curry Crisis’ which picked up a number of concerns that I and others in the industry have been expressing. Then I was interviewed for Norwegian Television’s news channel, who did an item on the problems facing the curry industry, and included footage from the awards. The BCA always brings the attention of the worldwide media to our curry industry. Which other awards can say that!

My thanks to Dipna Anand and the Brilliant team for supervising the food and it was particularly heartening to

see such good service from the young people from xxxx University. They really are our future and we should be proud of their accomplishments on the night.

I would like publicly to thank all the sponsors whose support make it possible, and to my family who have to shoulder a big burden in helping me to run this event, which has grown and grown over the years. After seven years it is perhaps time for a change and we are planning to make the 2012 event different. In particular I plan to make the British Curry Awards a charitable organization.I will update readers on this in the next issue.

Talking to restaurant owners at the Awards, some were happy and others sad at their experience over the past year. My message to those who are feeling a bit disheartened is keep up the good work and you will get your just rewards in the end.

Finally I would like to congratulate those from the hospitality industry who received awards in the New Years Honours List. In particular it was pleasing to see Baljoor Rashid and Vic Laws get the recognition that they richly deserve.

The best of luck for 2012!

Enam Ali MBE-FIH

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