The UK Junior Curry Chefs were crowned tonight at Bradford College’s International Food Academy. (IFA) Six budding teenage ‘master chefs’ competed for the crown with 15-year-old Kyle Richardson, from Blackpool, winning the 16 and under category and 18-year-old Habiba Khan winning the 18 and under category.
The competitors were Oliver Robinson, Kyle and Saheefa Shafique in the under 16 category and Habiba, Bobby Lee Smail and Faris Amin in the 18 and under category.
Kyle won with his Malaysian chicken curry, rice and stir fried pak choi, while Habiba wowed the chefs with her Karahi Gosht and aloo gobi with chapatis.
The competition follows the announcement that restaurateurs throughout the country are facing an unprecedented ‘Curry Crisis’ and are struggling to find skilled chefs due to a tightening of immigration laws.
Head chef at the IFA, Colin Burt, said: “The Junior Curry Chef Competition has been prompted by the ‘Curry Crisis’ and the need to address the skills shortage in the Asian restaurants. We’re keen to promote and encourage budding young chefs, both female and male to develop the skills needed to fill the gap.
“It was wonderful to see these youngsters develop and produce such wonderful dishes, to address not just the local but national curry crisis.
“Everyone, including the prestigious judges, was blown away by the standard of entries from these young budding chefs. Look out for these bright young stars of the future.”
Chief Patron of the IFA, Mr Mohammed Aslam, Mumtaz Khan, managing director of Mumtaz group of restaurants and Navid Ditta, from Shimla Restaurant, were on the judging panel.
Mr Khan said: “I was very impressed with the standard of entries from these exciting new chefs coming into the industry. They’ve all chosen very hard dishes to make, which demonstrates the level of skill, confidence and commitment these innovative young chefs possess.”