Chef attacks rival over false award claims

April 21, 2015 No Comments

Two well-known curry chefs, Chad Rahman of Chez Mumtaz in St Albans and Chef Oli Khan, of Surma Takeaway and Spice Rouge, are locked in a dispute which highlights the importance of sticking firmly to the facts when making claims about winning awards. It seems that Oli Khan has been stating in newspapers and magazines that he won the CIEH-FSA National Curry Chef of the Year in 2002, and 2003, when in fact the title in those years went to Chad Rahman.

Mr Rahman claims, “As you can appreciate I have worked extremely hard to champion these titles. Oli Khan has blatantly hijacked and stolen my hard work and success to enhance and benefit his own media profile.” He goes on to say, “The curry industry has of late received a lot of negative press in the national media about organisations profiting unethically from holding award ceremonies. This only brings further disrepute to the industry which we love and are proud to be affiliated with.”
Spice Business contacted Oli Khan for a comment and he confirmed that he was in fact the local winner of the CIEH – National Curry Chef 2002/03, a competition organised by CIEH and Stevenage Borough Council and that he received the relevant certificates for this award from the organisers. Mr Khan indicated he did not want to comment further at this stage, nor reply to other questions raised by Spice Business.

Mr Khan has faced criticism from other community figures, as well as in online magazines, such as Mood Food, and on Betar Bangla Radio. Matab Chowdhury, president of the British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce (BBCC), says, “It is totally unacceptable when someone’s hard work is rewarded but someone else falsely claims credit for the same award. We must learn from this incident and should respect and celebrate people’s success with the pride they bring to the industry.”

Bashir Ahmed, the BBCC’s London region president, agrees. He says, “The culture of self promotion must be stopped in our business community. It is a self-destructive activity which will discourage the young generation from coming forward.”
Spice Business has received a number of telephone calls on the subject, reflecting industry concern. Disputes such as this are a great pity, because they tarnish the prizes genuinely awarded for the hard work of the true champions who have been rewarded over the years. Such achievements should be properly respected, and more care should be taken not to make claims that are not strictly accurate. We hope that there will be no reoccurrence and that the industry will move on and focus on working together to further expand and develop our industry. Division is harmful, and making false claims, however unintentionally, is a sure way to create division and spread disharmony.

Shanor Khan, general secretary of the British Bangladeshi Caterer’s Association added, “The first generation of British Bangladeshis worked hard and made sacrifices to give us an amazing curry business. We must be on our guard against anyone abusing the reputation of the curry industry for personal gain.”

If Oli Khan would have offered to make a formal apology for his albeit inadvertent error to Chad Rahman, Spice Business would be happy to share it with readers. That way hopefully a line can be drawn under this sorry affair and everyone can move forward together.

Recent Stories

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.