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NEWS & VIEWS SPICE BUSINES S


MOSQUE KITCHEN STAYS OPEN


Stop dumbing down, says Mahendra Kaul


A UNIQUE curry restaurant concept designed to bridge the gap between faiths is still going strong after over 12 years. The Mosque Kitchen in Edinburgh used to cater just for its congregation when it first began in the 1980s, but started serving non-Muslims following the attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York in 2001. Mubashar Ali, who has managed the restaurant since its inception says, “We wanted to show people that Islam is not about terror and so we extended the restaurant and started opening every day and also began welcoming


people from other faiths. At first people were a bit scared and hesitant but it didn’t take long for it to become a popular local curry house.” The Mosque Kitchen


offers diners its curries buffet-style and the food is served on paper plates for about £5 a dish. Rice and lentils are one of the most popular dishes.


The idea of a


restaurant attached to the local mosque has attracted interest from over the world, and the restaurant has received requests to help set up similar ventures overseas. For the time being though The Mosque Kitchen is one of a kind. n


ONE of the pioneers of the British curry industry. Mahendra Kaul, has argued in an interview that there as a risk of high prices and poor quality causing harm to the sector. Awarded an OBE in 1975, Kaul is concerned that a few ‘bad apples’ are giving a bad name to the whole industry which threatens his legacy. Kaul claims to


have brought tandoori cooking to the UK and the first tandoori restaurant he set up was Gaylords in Mortimer Street, London. He believes this marks the start of an “Indian food revolution” in Britain. Other restaurants in the UK, and also in the US, followed and he became one of the best known names in the industry mingling with high level politicians and business leaders. While becoming


a successful restaurateur, he also maintained a career as a journalist and broadcaster, for many


years anchoring the BBC programme Nayi Zindagi, Naya Jeevan, later renamed Apna hi Ghar Samajhiye, for non-English speaking immigrants from the sub-continent. Now 91, Kaul has described his long journey from All India Radio to the BBC via the Voice of America and interspersed with his years as the uncrowned curry king of Britain as a ‘fairy tale’. He insists that he is a mere ‘foodie’ who just happened to do the right thing at the right time. However he is now appealing for his successors not to let his achievements be undermined by serving low quality food at exorbitant prices. n


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