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Restaurateur Amin Ali, Syed Belal Ahmed, Syed Nahas Pasha, Lord Bilimoria, Bazloor Rashid MBE and M A Rouf

Pakistan Cricket teams. The 20/20 Cricket World Cup was on in India and India has a deep obsession with the sport. Pakistan played India in Kolkata, the streets were quiet, the hotel was quiet while India watched cricket. India won and life resumed.

Fantastic kick off for Press Launch at ITC Maurya with Lord Karan Bilimoria was our guest of honour. Syed Belal Ahmed from Curry Life Magazine welcomed us all to Delhi and then invited myself and chef Manisha Bhasin to say a few words.

Chef Manisha is a strong Indian lady that has been trained within the great hotels of India for more than 30 years, a highly knowledgeable woman that controls 150 chefs and never suffers fools.

After the press launch, press interviews and introduction to the kitchens, it was time for a party! Delhi’s top brass received invitations to drinks, a buffet style dinner and the chance to talk to us about the festival from the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the British High Commission.

The Nandiya Gardens in the front of the hotel were dressed for a special occasion. The Nandiya, a verdant, beautifully landscaped garden that overlooks the richly forested Delhi-ridge, offers a serene and elegant ambience for all manner of occasions.

A huge stage was set up with UKTI banners celebrating Great British Food and our relationship with India. A bar and individual

kitchens were set up, ready for us to display and offer a selection of our menus. Great comments all round and actually really fun to cook such a British favourite in India. The UKTI has given tremendous effort to promote this festival in India. The opening dinner and reception at the Nandiya Gardens was clear example of their commitment to promote Great British Food and chefs.

The festival was also given huge boost by the presence of Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, who has been a rock solid supporter of Curry Life. He was the main speaker at the Grand Opening. His passionate speech about British food, especially British curry was remarkable.

I have also noticed in every festivals Curry Life team attracts many leading restaurateurs from the British Curry Industry at their events. This festival in Delhi was no exception and it had a presence of Mr Amin Ali, founder of the Red Fort in London, Mr Bazloor Rashid MBE, former President of BCA, representative body of British curry houses, Mr M A Rouf, who’s restaurant in St Andrews attracted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dine, while they were studying at the University of St Andrews.

Anyway, word soon spread and the festival began to bring some interesting guests to the hotel. We were always on red alert for visit by food critics, VIPs, respected journalists and above all regular and non-regular diners.


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