Enam’s editorial

May 20, 2014 No Comments

It only seems yesterday that we were launching the British Curry Awards, as a pioneering way of recognising the achievements of our industry and the people who work so hard to make it a success. Yet here I find myself preparing for the tenth Awards, which are  taking place on Monday  1st Dec 2014 at the Battersea Evolution.

 

As the saying goes ‘from small acorns mighty oaks do grow’, and what started as  relatively small event is now one of the biggest and most spectacular on the hospitality calendar. We have had all kinds of dignitaries and VIPs attend, culminating  in the Prime Minister, David Cameron, giving the keynote speech in 2013. We haven’t had any royals yet, but you never know!

 

Past winners make up a  real ‘who’s who’ of our industry. They are the stars of the curry business and it is thanks to you, who have supported the Awards over the past ten years, that they have the rightful recognition.

 

Nominations for 2014 are now open, so please go to page 46 where you can find a form. You can also nominate  online or by downloading our app onto your smart phone.

 

We always say ‘this year will be bigger and better than ever’  but it will be hard to beat 2013. You can rest assured we will do our best, and there are certain to be some surprises. So put the date in your diaries now and make sure you are there to mark ten years of these awards.

 

It is also another anniversary - 15 years since the launch of Spice Business. At the time nobody believed it would last, and yet it has. It was a very necessary step to introduce the magazine, to highlight issues relating not just to the spice restaurant sector but the community at large as well. Without Spice Business the British Curry Awards would simply not exist and those stars mentioned would not have been rewarded.  We have campaigned on many issues,  challenged the government of the day and I believe Spice Business has  inspired many changes. We have charted the ups and downs of our industry, stressed  the importance of the Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese and Sri Lankan communities in the ‘Indian’ restaurant business and the huge contributions made, not just to the economy, but to charity as well. Restaurants that are now household names were mentioined in these pages first.

 

Your support has been vital to its success.  The doubters have been proved wrong and that is mainly down to you, the readers, that this has been the case.

 

In the very first issue Tony Blair wrote a welcoming note, and our current Prime Minister David Cameron has been a good and loyal  supporter of our industry; so it was pleasing to see that he has pledged to protect the right to halal meat as long as he is in charge. This will be welcome news to our community I am sure. I had been approached by a number of people about this issue, following criticism from animal rights groups, and raised it with him. The PM’s response is encouraging and the outcome is the right one.

 

At the BCA 2103 Mr Cameron promised to work with us to  help overcome some of the challenges we face, and we must hold him to those words. We need some changes in immigration rules, and also some help with measures to stimulate recovery after the recession. We are grateful to this government for their words of support. But now we have to see action!

 

Political tensions are rising with elections this year, for Europe and local government, and the General Election in 2015. Tower Hamlets is inevitably something of a focal point and recently the record of Mayor Luthfur Rahman was challenged by BBC Panorama, which  always does great work to highlight the country’s concerns. On this occasion, we are delighted to see that, although their findings have been investigated by the police, no evidence of wrongdoing has been found. There is a danger of people getting  jealous about someone’s success and trying  to damage hard-won reputations. Perhaps this is what happened on this occasion and we are glad the Mayor has been cleared. We hope this paves the way for a fair, and open, election without any ‘dirty tricks’.

 

We are nearing the Ramadan period, which starts at the end of June and so will coincide with the hot summer months once again. It is a tough time, but a rewarding one. It is a time to be grateful to our staff who continue to deliver excellent performance and service no matter what. I would like to offer Ramadan Mubarak  greetings to all our readers and I hope you enjoy good fortune over the coming months.

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