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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Feed people and make them happy, is the sole aim of this chef, nominated in the ‘Best Chef’ category at Bradford Curry Awards.

The much-awaited Bradford Curry Awards is back with its fourth edition on 10 July. More than 200 establishments competed for the coveted title to be the Best of the Best 2023, with around 30 making it to the finals, in nine categories, ranging from best restaurant, eatery, caterer and best marketing.

Each day, we hope to introduce you to a finalist, so you can find out more about their food and their journey as a finalist. Naheed Akhtar, Chef with Dil Pasand, a curry outlet located at 60 Duckworth lane, is nominated in the Best Chef category at the awards. Competing with her, are– Tazeem Sawaiz from Tazza Kitchen, Aijaz from International, Habib Ur Rehman from Sultan, Altaf Hussain from Bala Hisar and Imran Yousuf from My Lahore.

Speaking about her journey in cooking, Naheed, who comes from a Pakistani origin, says she started cooking at a young age, with her mother inspiring her.

“Firstly, it was my ammi who compelled me to start cooking. It is because of her I am at this stage today,

“Initially, I didn’t want to cook,” Naheed laughs.

“My ammi used to tell me, once you start cooking and ensure people like the food, everyone feels good. So, I started developing a strong passion for cooking within my heart. It all started at a small age.”

Naheed has been working with Dil Pasand for the past five years.

Speaking about her journey, at Dil Pasand, Naheed tells Asian Standard, “When I made, one or two handis, I was told that everyone loved it and that I should cook more. So now, I serve people my food. They all love it; they all tell me that it reminds them of their home.”

Being one of the few women chefs in a male dominated industry, she speaks of the support she gets at Dil Pasand, “Where I work, it is ensured that we are a family. We are all supportive of each other. So, I never feel anything like this (being in a male dominated industry)”

Naheed’s dishes
Image: Dil Pasand

Naheed appears proud as she lists down her menu for us, “In curry we have, Chicken karahi, Chicken Masala, Aalu Ghost, Aalu Keema, Pakora Curry, Chicken Palak among many more. We have vegetarian options too like Bhindi and Karela.”

When asked, what does she cook the best, Naheed is hesitant, “I do not even feel like eating what I make,” she laughs.

“But people say that the Chicken Biryani, Pakora Curry and Chicken Karahi I make, is great. They love it.”

“Cooking”, Naheed says, is the best thing she enjoys, being a chef.

“I also love it when people come back to me after having my food to say, that they loved the dishes cooked my me.

“I put my heart into cooking”.

Will Naheed Akhtar prove to be the best curry chef Bradford has? We will have until find out on 10 July.

Stay tuned at https://bradfordcurryawards.co.uk/ for all the details and results.

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