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Top Delhi chef bags international award in London

Manisha Bhasin, whose Delhi-based restaurants are considered at the forefront of Indian cuisine, was presented the award by shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and Karan Bilimoria.

world Updated: Oct 23, 2017 18:33 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
(From left) Television personality Michael Buerk, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, Manisha Bhasin and Karan Bilimoria, member of the House of Lords, at the Curry Life Awards 2017 in London on Sunday.
(From left) Television personality Michael Buerk, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, Manisha Bhasin and Karan Bilimoria, member of the House of Lords, at the Curry Life Awards 2017 in London on Sunday.(HT Photo)

Manisha Bhasin, senior executive chef at ITC Maurya in New Delhi, who has won several accolades and cooked for heads of state, was presented the International Honour Award on Sunday by a key stakeholder in Britain’s £9-billion Indian food industry. 

Bhasin, whose Delhi-based restaurants Bukhara, Dum Pukht and West View are considered at the forefront of Indian cuisine, was presented the award by shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and Karan Bilimoria, member of the House of Lords.

Instituted by Curry Life, a leading industry publication, the awards recognise prominent chefs and managers of Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants across Britain. Several MPs and leading dignitaries joined the celebration of Indian cuisine in British life. 

Serious concern was expressed on the occasion at problems facing the industry, particularly difficulties in recruiting chefs from the Indian subcontinent, rising business rates and uncertainty caused by Britain leaving the European Union.

Bilimoria, founder of a popular beer brand and a leading figure in the industry, said: “We are fighting with our hands tied behind our back. The pound has fallen since the wretched Brexit vote, which has made prices of ingredients costlier.” 

Starmer, who leads the opposition Labour Party’s position on Brexit, regretted promises made by pro-Brexit leaders to ease visa rules for chefs and said: “The promises are not going to come true. The consequences of Brexit are profound.”

Syed Belal Ahmed, editor of Curry Life, said: “This is our cry for help. We thought Brexit will bring positive change, but are yet to see any benefit. The curry industry is not engaged by the Theresa May government in Brexit talks. We want clear direction on Brexit.” 

Funds were raised at the event to help Rohingya refugees on behalf of the Disaster Emergency Committee, which brings together UK-based charity organisations. According to Labour MP Rushanara Ali, Myanmar authorities had forced a “false exodus” on the Rohingyas.