UK's Curry Capital Fight to Avert a Curry Apocalypse
LONDON, November 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Imagine heading to Manchester's Curry Mile, London's Brick Lane, or even just to your local curry house and seeing boarded-up windows and empty streets. Finding the wafts of tempting turmeric and coriander have vanished, along with a £3.5bn industry. Could Britain's curry crisis really be so serious?
As soon as the government introduced tough new legislation in early 2011, making it virtually impossible to employ qualified chefs from the Indian subcontinent, there were predictions of a curry apocalypse. Already the cracks are starting to show. Restaurants in some of the UK's most iconic Indian hotspots have been forced to close. Even Masala World - one of the world's most respected Indian restaurant groups and owner of the Masala Zone chain - recently announced that due to a shortage of skilled Indian chefs, they have scrapped their UK expansion plans.
Enter Bradford College's International Food Academy, which lies in the heart of Britain's newly crowned Curry Capital 2012. They believe they have the key to salvation for our nation's favourite food.
"We're keen to promote and encourage British born chefs," says Colin Burt, Head Chef at the International Food Academy in Bradford, where students are learning the skills that many 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants are leaving behind.
Bradford College, one of the biggest in the country, says it is proud to respond to the needs of the local community. This not only means providing training to youngsters and those seeking a career change, but to also provide much needed follow through job placement - vital in a country where 40% of students are now failing to find graduate level work 2 years after completing their course.
"Unemployed students can study [at the International Food Academy] without affecting their benefits. Indian and Pakistani restaurants recruit these students directly from the course and 90% of them are now working," says Burt in an interview with Curry Capital sponsors hungryhouse.co.uk.
Initiatives such as this have already been embraced by many top restaurants looking for new ways to snap up fresh talent.
"I myself am involved in the Apprenticeship Scheme, giving young people a chance in the industry at this very difficult time," says Akbar's restaurant chain founder Shabir Hussain, who trained as a chef at Bradford College in the 80s, back when he says he was "the only Asian guy out of three or four hundred catering students!"
Bradford has been expanding its efforts nationwide by this year opening up its Junior Curry Chef competition to the whole of the UK, and also partnering up with the industry as much as possible to promote projects such as the World Curry Festival and the South Asian Curry Competition.
But the weight of the curry crisis can't rest on the shoulders of one city. Bradford is proving that a new generation of 'Indian chefs' are right on our doorstep, now it's time for the rest of Britain to do their bit to ensure a bright future for the UK's much-loved curry industry.
hungryhouse.co.uk's mission is to become the UK's most trusted source for the takeaway industry. More than just a restaurant directory - it's a convenient way to find a restaurant, read reviews and order home delivery from a wide-variety of different cuisines - including delicious Indian delivery, Chinese and Pizza takeaway. The platform, which is part of Delivery Hero's international network, helps restaurateurs keep up with the increasing technological demands of their customers. And the 4-star rated hungryhouse mobile phone app now allows customers to carry thousands of menus around in their pocket, without creating an unsightly bulge.
hungryhouse - 78 York Street, London, W1H
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