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Curry Cook Off

Curry Cook Off


Leading Asian chefs will compete in a dramatic cook off to determine ‘Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year’ at this year’s Asian Curry Awards.

The country’s ten top chefs, voted for by members of curry loving public, will go head-to-head in the competition being held at Pillars Restaurant at the University of West London in Ealing on Monday 5th October.

A team of judges will be led by Pat Chapman, the editor and founder of the Cobra Good Curry Guide, includes Michael Coaker, Senior Lecturer Culinary Arts from the London School of Hospitality and Tourism; Momtaz Begum-Hossain, Editorial Director of Asiana.TV, .Master Chef Jason Freedman; Chinese Master Chef and Michelin star winner William Poon, food and travel writer Neil Hennessy-Vass, restaurant critic Emily Knight, Ian Fenn editor of Chopstix; restaurant marketing consultant, George Shaw of Avocado Media; and award-winning food writer Ria Amber Tesia.

The winner will be announced at at Asian Curry Awards 2015 at the London Hilton on15th November 2015. Other category winners which will be revealed on the night will be: Asian Restaurant of the Year; East Asian Takeaway/Delivery of the Year;
South Asian Takeaway/Delivery of the Year;Newcomer of the Year (restaurants established less than 3 years); Young Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year (under 30); East Asian Restaurant of the Year; Best International Asian Restaurant;
Lifetime Achievement Award.

There are also 10 regional awards for the Best South Asian restaurants in London, London suburbs, South East, South West, East, South Coast, North, Midlands, Wales and Scotland & Northern Ireland.

The finalists will are be announced at a special networking lunch in the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons on Monday 12th October.


Curry Favour

Curry Favour


Brighton’s award-winning Indian Summer restaurant has revealed the special menu it will serve at the charity lunch it is hosting for the benefit of the Curry Tree Foundation and Find Your Feet.

Four dishes being served will be Murgh Makhni - a corn fed supreme breast, marinated in Awadhi spice-mix, cooked in the tandoor, served with Makhni sauce; Lamb Zafrani - slow cooked shoulder of lamb in papaya, green mango, black cardamom & yoghurt marinade, served with saffron sauce; Pork Belly Vindaloo - slow cooked pork belly, marinated in roasted goan spices, served with an original vindaloo sauce; and a Shakahari Mezze of roasted peanut aubergine, tandoori paneer & cauliflower with a smoked malai sauce.

The tandoori roasts will be served with chutneys and roasted sweet and fennel potato, cumin butter mash, roast parsnips and green bean & broccoli thoran.

The tandoori lunch being held on Sunday 18th October as part of National Curry Week, will costs £17.95 of which £5 will be donated to good causes.


Chapel Up

Chapel Up


Kent wine maker Chapel Down is experiencing soaring sales as demand for English wine goes "from strength to strength".

The Tenterden based company reported a 33% rise in revenues to £3.25m in the first half of the year.

A further 82 acres of vines have been planted along the North Downs. The company expects “an excellent harvest” in 2015.

Consumers’ interest in English wines and beer grows from strength to strength and Chapel Down is well positioned to benefit,” said chief exec Frazer Thompson. “The proceeds of last year’s successful crowd funding are being used to plant more vines in the finest sites, improve our production facilities, wine making equipment and systems and develop our people and brands.”

Chapel Down was served at the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. The company also supplies the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.


Liquid Cash

Liquid Cash


Kent brewer Shepherd Neame is reportedly “more confident about writing large cheques”. Fuelled by 6.1% like-for-likes sales growth in the year to June the company invested a record £2.4m in the Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells.

“At last, economic recovery is being felt outside London, and we are now seeing ever-increasing signs of regeneration in our heartland, in particular, in north Kent and the east Kent coastal towns,” said chief exec Jonathan Neame, “There is increasing momentum behind the major development zones in our region and over the medium term this could bring greater economic prosperity and new opportunities for us to grow.”

The brewer’s traditional £50,000 sparkle investment has become a £150,000 to £200,000 re-positioning. It refurbished 68 bedrooms across the estate in the year, taking total bedroom stock to 279 with consumers “rediscovering the Kent coast”. The company had additional opportunities to create as many as 30 bedrooms within the estate in the next two years, subject to planning. Neame has hailed the quality of new licensees that the company is welcoming to its tenanted division.

The brewer has “taken advantage of the improved rates available in the market” and refinanced its 5-year term loan and revolving credit facility due to expire in May 2017 , with a £20m revolving credit facility until September 2020. Its existing £60m loan remains unchanged and matures in 2026. The company owns 54 acres of land and buildings on the edge of Faversham as the remaining part of the company’s farming business. Ten acres of land on Brogdale Road, on which planning consent for housing has been obtained, is to be sold.





The new Good Hotel Guide highlights the nation’s top hotel gripes: hair in the plughole (88%), dirty shower curtains (79%), noisy guests in neighbouring rooms/thin walls (72%), and saggy, uncomfortable beds (68%) top the list. Other irritants include discretionary service charges (57%), windows that do not open (43%), dim lighting (42%), background music (34%), poor WiFi (33%) and carpets in the bathroom (32%).

Unsurprisingly, women complain than men. The only gripes which bother men more than women are poor Wifi (34% of men compared to 31% of women), and plastic cups in the bathroom (21% of men as opposed to 18% of women. One interesting difference is that double the number of men (18%) claim to have been bitten by a flea while staying in a hotel, compared with only 9% of women. However, 12% of men and women agree that too many cushions on the bed is annoying.

On the food front, buffet breakfast are unpopular. Respondents bemoaned “having to get up and down like a yo-yo” poor-quality, pre-cooked, cold food that congeals under hot lamps, and running out of food. Another issue was poor quality of tea and coffee, and the time which they take to arrive. Breakfast ending too early, especially at the weekend, was also an issue.

Other gripes included over-familiar staff, stained bedlinen, long-life milk in the bedroom for tea and coffee, a dislike of condiments in plastic packaging and feeble shower pressures. Background music condemned as ‘intrusive’ and, ‘inappropriate’. WiFi that was not free, had a feeble signal, or was complicated to set up was another irritant. Hotels with too many instructions telling guests what and what not to do are disliked. And while many hotels are now dog friendly, one sad respondent complained that too few hotels welcome cats.

The new guide has 420 main entries featuring hotels and B&Bs considered to be the best of their type. Hotels cannot pay to be included; the editors select entries based on visits by a team of inspectors and readers.

The Good Hotel Guide 2016: Great Britain & Ireland is published on 5th October 2015, priced £20.


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