Pervin Todiwala, Co-Founder of Café Spice Namaste, was recognised at the 16th annual British Curry Awards, streamed live on 17th December 2020 with comedian Rory Bremner as the host. Pervin was honoured with the Inspirational Woman Award for working tirelessly behind the restaurant businesses, raising two sons, and supporting highly demanded celebrity TV chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE.
The British Curry Awards, sponsored by Just Eat, are a landmark event in the hospitality industry calendar. Yesterday’s extravaganza recognised the efforts of restaurants, chefs, and industry stalwarts, and the extraordinary efforts of this amazing, resilient industry, which is worth £5bn to the British economy. Celebs and politicians assembled virtually to mark the 16th Annual British Curry Awards which celebrated the fact that British curry houses give away five million free meals during Covid-19 pandemic
The ceremony also paid tribute to the unsung heroes of the pandemic who have gone the extra mile for their local communities; the country’s first-generation curry restaurateurs who are now elderly with underlying health issues and as well as the early ‘curry pioneers’ who created the industry we know and love today in the 1960s and 1970s.
Five million free meals with £45 million donated to key workers
New analysis by the British Curry Award and industry’s trade journal Spice Business Magazine found UK curry houses have given away more than five million free meals to key workers and the vulnerable during the course of the coronavirus pandemic. The average cost of a curry with rice is around £9. This means the industry has donated more than £45m in food to key workers, including frontline NHS staff and the needy, since the first lockdown in March.
This generosity has taken place despite the acute economic pressure on curry houses and the wider hospitality industry throughout the crisis. The curry industry was already struggling with a skills shortage, which was contributing to an alarming rate of restaurant closures pre-Covid.
A recent documentary, The Curry House Kid, estimated that half of all the country’s 12,000 Indian restaurants could close in the next decade.
Enam Ali MBE, founder of the British Curry Awards, said:
“I am delighted that we have been able to keep the Curry Oscars going even through this traumatic time. The winners this year are among the most exceptional we have known, feeding our friends, loved ones, and those who have defended us throughout this awful pandemic.
“More broadly, it’s extraordinary how the whole industry has kept so many people fed this year. The great British curry is not only central to British life, it is a key part of seeing us through this pandemic. As an industry worth around £5bn, we also have a crucial role to play in the recovery.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan added: “It has been an extremely difficult year for curry restaurants who have faced immense challenges as a result of the Covid pandemic. Restaurateurs and their staff have shown extraordinary resilience and worked tirelessly to adapt and provide a safe environment for their customers while continuing to deliver excellent service throughout these uncertain times. Yet despite these difficult times, it is heartwarming that many restaurateurs have gone out of their way to provide a vital helping hand to those in need during the pandemic.”
This year’s winners included:
- Best London restaurant in the pandemic: Kanishka, London Mayfair
- Inspirational Woman Award: Pervin Todiwala, Café Spice Namaste, London
- Entrepreneur Award: Jalf Ali Dabbawal, Khai Khai, Newcastle
- Family restaurant team of the year: Brilliant restaurant, London Southall
- Inspirational person: Dabirul Islam Choudhury
- Outstanding service to local community in the pandemic: Zakir Khan, Zyka restaurant, Reading
- Special recognition for media coverage of the curry industry: Mohammad Jubair, chief reporter, Channel 5
- Best takeaway during the pandemic: British Raj, Royston, Hertfordshire
- Outstanding service during the pandemic: The Radhuni, Loanhead, Midlothian; Saffron restaurant, Northampton; Urban Tandoor, Bristol
- Leadership award in the pandemic: Salim Choudhury, president, British Bangladeshi Caterers Association
- Unsung Chef Award: Rahman Shah, Eastleigh