The annual British Curry Awards or Curry Oscars paid tribute to the unsung heroes of the pandemic who have gone the extra mile for their local communities.
The awards recognised those pioneers within the industry that have given away over 5 million meals throughout the pandemic.
That equates 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 virtual event was hosted by comedian Rory Bremner and awards were given out by a host of names including Supermodel Caprice, former culture secretary Baroness Morgan, former business secretary Sir Vince Cable, former Shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry, Rageh Omar, TV broadcaster, Alistair Stewart, TV broadcaster and TV Celebrity Chef Brian Turner
Some of the awards given out included, Inspirational Woman Award, Family Restaurant Team of The Year, Inspirational Person, Outstanding Service to Local Community In The Pandemic, Best Takeaway Award During The Pandemic, Best service and Unsung Hero to restaurants and businesses up and down the country.
One of the awards was given out to Jalf Ali, Dabbawal in Newcastle, who was the winner of the Entrepreneur Award
Jalf has operated many restaurants through the Dabbawal brand across Newcastle. He recently launched a unique concept restaurant, Khai Khai, in the challenging pandemic despite all the obstacles.
Speaking about the awards 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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“We are all experiencing very challenging times in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly for the UK restaurant industry. It is therefore heartening and fitting that the theme for this year’s event is to reward and celebrate all the unsung heroes in the restaurant industry during the pandemic.
They have selflessly, tirelessly, and, without prompting, gone out of their way to help their local community, the vulnerable, elderly, isolated, and the NHS by supplying much wanted curries, kindness, and support.”
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said:
“We all know that is has been a tough year for the hospitality industry, which makes the industry’s efforts and the support they have given to our communities all the more impressive.
Robin Cook famously declared chicken tikka masala to be ‘a true national dish’. He was right about that, but I must admit I prefer a chicken Balti. There is no doubt that the curry house is absolutely integral to British life, never more so than this year.”