Stevenage chef currying favour in India

AN award-winning chef from Stevenage is set to take his culinary delights to India as part of the efforts to showcase British curry cuisine abroad. Ataur Rahman Harun, who is master chef for the Taj Mahal Restaurant in High Street, will demonstrate his sk

AN award-winning chef from Stevenage is set to take his culinary delights to India as part of the efforts to showcase British curry cuisine abroad.

Ataur Rahman Harun, who is master chef for the Taj Mahal Restaurant in High Street, will demonstrate his skills at the Taste of Britain Curry Festival in Kolkata, India.

He is among the three British "super curry chefs" chosen to take on the ambitious task of winning the hearts and minds of gourmets in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), once the capital of British Raj in India. Kolkata is the city where the great British curry tradition is thought to have begun.

Winner of a string of accolades for his outstanding culinary skills and innovation, Chef Harun is no stranger to creative challenges.


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"I'm very excited to be taking part. I have cooked in various competitions, but a showcase event such as this will be a real challenge," he said.

He was chosen out of thousands of Indian chefs in a competition to represent the region in the festival which is on from April 15 to 25.

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Opening in 1964, the Taj Mahal is one of the longest established Indian restaurants in the UK.

Factfile:

* Sake Dean Mahomed opened Britain's first curry house in 1809. It was called the Hindustani Coffee House in Portman Square, London.

* There are around 12,000 Indian restaurants in Britain serving more than three million customers a year. People of Bangladeshi origin run 90 per cent of restaurants

* The curry industry is worth �4.2 billion and accounts for two thirds of all eating out

* Chicken tikka masala is the most popular dish. Supermarkets sell 1.5 million packets of chicken tikka masala every year

* London has more Indian restaurants than Bombay and Delhi combined

* The Indian restaurants in Britain have a proud heritage and one that has made them part of the fabric of the British way of life.

* November 10 is celebrated as National Curry Day in Britain. Indian restaurants across the UK give 10 per cent of their proceeds to charity.

* Each year the UK eats enough pappadums to circle the world. The UK Indian restaurants get through more than 200,000 tonnes of rice a year and about a million people a day in Britain eat curry.

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