This past weekend the city of Bradford saw the first ever Mela to celebrate the curation of curry making in the city that was recently announced the capital of culture in 2025.
The very first Bradford Curry Mela, showcased an array of culinary cuisine from the Indian subcontinent, along with masterclasses, entertainment and cultural heritage shared through various activities such as the roti-making class, which was run by Bradford South Asian Heritage Festival.
A free entry, the family fun day showcased the rich, vibrant, fusion of one of Britain’s most favourite dishes over a two-day extravaganza, with dhol playing, flash mobs and live cooking demonstrations by chefs previously seen in cooking shows on national television.
The event took place at Bradford City Park, in Centenary Square, surrounded by a water fountain, in which children splashed away in, whilst parents basked in the sun and enjoyed pakoras, samosas and chaat, as well as other South Asian Street food snacks.
An array of food stalls assembled queues of folk lining up for quintessentially South Asian food including Sweet Centre’s stall offering chicken biryani, samosa chaat, seekh kebabs and chicken curry, street food from Bombay Store’s Mumbai Bites, as well as baklava from Sweetland London and Desi Snack’s Karak chai, pakoras and desi breakfast.
The Mela also ran a curry masterclass in a white tent, which accommodated an audience of 30 people, and displayed a plethora of Saveco’s fresh fruit and veg.
With live cooking demonstrations, from Army chefs, MasterChef’s 2022 runner-up Chef Radha Ru and The Sweet Centre’s Waqar “Waxi” Ali from the BBC’s Britain’s Top Takeaways.
The live cooking demonstrations were an hour long and were a huge hit with the public spectators, who engaged with questions and were hosted by the comedian and TV personality Tommy Sandhu.
Bradford also witnessed the largest karahi of dhaal it has ever seen, created by Aziz Catering, who is up for an award on Monday 25 July, for the Bradford Curry Awards.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, who opened the event in an inaugural ribbon-cutting ceremony said “I’m delighted to be here to open this event, South Asian food is so important to the economy of Bradford and to the people of Bradford, it’s something everybody enjoys, irrespective of their ethnic origins and it cuts across all communities, that’s the thing about food.
Councillor Martin Love further added, “Its great that the first event of this kind after the pandemic is so much bigger than it has been in the past, we’ve got the stalls here in City Park and hopefully this expanded version will be able to continue in the next couple of years leading up to Bradford being the City of Culture in 2025”.
Stallholders commented on how busy the event was on Saturday with many of the food stalls having to request more food from their restaurants as they “sold out” of everything.
The two-day Curry Mela preceded the Bradford Curry Awards 2022, which took place last night at the Bradford Hotel.
The glitzy awards night promises to be an evening of entertainment, food, celebration and of course announcing the winners of this year, with awards being delivered to caterers and restaurants, for the milestones and recognition of their talent in the curry industry.