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THIS year will be the 10th occasion that the British Curry Awards has taken place. I am glad to report that we have had more nominations than ever before this year, reflecting the huge amount of public interest in nominating their favourite curry house. I can assure you the postman has been very busy in the

Epsom Downs area, delivering sacks of nominations to Spice Business headquarters, while the Awards email inbox has been full to overflowing. Thank you once again for all your support. It means a lot that ten years on the Awards are still going from strength to strength and are captivating the interest and imagination of our industry. Nominations closed on September 1st. Companies who are

short-listed will shortly be receiving letters confirming this, if they have not done so already. Please fill in the entry forms and get them back to us as soon as possible. I am certain that this year will be a never-to-be-forgotten

occasion. My daughter Justine Ali, who is producing the event once again, is pulling out all at the stops to create the biggest, and best event yet. A number of celebrity guests have been lined up already and it is sure to be an occasion that nobody will want to miss. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Awards on December 1st at The Battersea Evolution. There is no doubt that over the past ten years, the British

Curry Awards have helped change the industry for good. There was a time when with nobody to take over from the older generation some restaurants were closing down. The children were not interested and were going to professional careers as bankers, teachers, solicitors and so on. Now though the image of the industry has changes and more and ore are leaving their careers to return to their roots. As a result of the British Curry Awards there is more pride, respect and appreciation for people running restaurants than there used to be, and this has helped persuade the younger generation that there is a future in this business. There are of course challenges, and we wait to see what

the political leaders aiming to win the election in 2015 offer to do about it. Even though the government has promised to help the curry industry there has not been much progress. Not being able to bring in talented chefs from outside the EU does not help the business model, and with the election nearing we 5

should all express our concerns to our MPs. This is a genuine problem and curry houses will slowly die if there is not a change in policy. In particular there are barriers in bringing in chefs if they

offer a takeaway service. There are few if any spice restaurants in this country that do not offer a takeaway menu, so there is absolutely no sense in this rule. Takeaways allow restaurants to do more business, and so generate more revenue to the taxman. It is a nonsense rule and has to end. On a positive note the economy is improving and we are

seeing an increase in consumer spending. This will have a benefit to the hospitality sector, so perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel after all. But the staff crisis is worse than ever and there is no end in sight as far as that is concerned. In this issue you will be able to read about unfair treatment

received by a restaurant as a result of comments on Tripadvisor. Social media sites like this are having a bigger influence on our businesses, as many people check them for reviews before booking a table. But if reviews are false or malicious it can have a negative impact and there is little by way of redress. There must be a way to stop this, while keeping open the sites for genuine reviewers. There is also huge concern about company installing gas

cookers without qualifications and approvals and ultimately being prosecuted and fined. I would strongly urge restaurants to only use properly qualified gas engineers. This is particular problem for our sector as electrical ovens are not suitable for the curry industry due to the lack of instant heat. But taking short cuts can be dangerous and a false economy. Finally, Ramadan is behind us and I wish you all a belated

Eid Mubarak. There are some people campaigning to make Eid a public holiday in the UK. While this might be a problem for some, it would be a welcome recognition of the integral part that British Muslims play in society and e economy today. n

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