Aziz Ahmed’s family has been serving the finest food in Bradford for over 100 years, and under the name Aziz Catering, for the last 30.
The man behind Aziz Catering is Aziz Ahmed, 63, who has worked tirelessly to establish Aziz Catering as the premium wedding caterers in Bradford, priding themselves on being hardworking, friendly, and talented team.
Mr Ahmed is also known across Bradford for his incredibly humble nature and generosity. He often provides food, drinks, services, and sponsorships to charities and organisations in the district.
Aziz Catering is renowned in Bradford for its award-winning quality, Pakistani and halal food.
Mr Ahmed, or “Uncle Aziz” as he is known by many, is carrying on his mother’s legacy, through the catering business. The first woman in his local village, people used to come from all over and stay until the wee of the day to sample his mother’s traditional delights.
Now one of the go-to businesses for weddings, Eid celebrations, and birthdays with its lavish spreads, the business grew from humble beginnings.
Mr Ahmed said: “There is always challenges to setting up a business. Many years ago, we didn’t have the facilities that we have now, we were working from a garage at the back of the house.
“It was my mother’s idea, she was the first lady of the town she came from, and all the youngsters used to come on the weekend to eat my mum’s meals, from breakfast to evening.
“One day, one of the lads decided to get married and we cooked in the back garden, and that is where it all started from.”
In those days, the food served were a lot simpler than the meals Aziz Catering puts on now. Between fifty and sixty people would chow down on Mr Ahmed’s mum’s meat curry and pilau rice dishes.
“My mum is a massive inspiration. We’ve learned everything from her, her etiquette, and her charity”, the business owner said.
Mr Ahmed is one of seven. His father, a factory worker, died young, at the age of 45 in 1966, which was a “big blow” for the entire family, Mr Ahmed says. “He was the main earner, so when he passed away, my two older brothers who were around 14 and 16 had to go to work to bring in money for the family.
“The people who ate in our house helped as well, contributing towards the food they were eating. We had our own kind of charity in a way.”
The charity that he and his family received growing up, has stuck with him and inspired him to give back to his community.
Over the years, Mr Aziz has supplied food, drinks, and services to countless charities and non-profit organisations, including Asian Standard’s Inspirational Women Foundation, founded by editor and managing director Fatima Patel, Penny Appeal, and BEAP Community Partnership.
Despite all the work he does with charity, Mr Ahmed likes to keep it a low profile.
He said: “I don’t like to shout about the charity work that I do. I am thankful for the charities that come to us. I’m very fortunate that we can contribute to them. We ask them what their requirements are, and we cater to their needs.”
“Giving to charity is very important to me, it is something we have been through, we know the hardship of putting food on the table, having lost a father at a very early stage – we know the struggles and our hearts go out to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.”
Aziz Catering provides services for up to seven weddings a week, as well as running a daily menu, and providing school dinners to four schools across Bradford.
Despite weddings and Eid celebrations being cancelled in 2020, the lockdown period was the busiest time for the business, Mr Ahmed said. He mentioned “It was a very period, although there were no weddings, people were ordering food for their homes across Bradford District because they couldn’t go out.
“When a door closes another one opens. With charity, you get tenfold back, you never get poor for giving to charity, it is a fantastic deal.”
Rizwan Rehman, a volunteer at Minhaj-UL-Quran and lead officer of partnership and programmes at Bradford Council uses Aziz Catering. Mr Rehman said: “Mr Aziz is a fine example of a gentleman who has his heart in the right place… in the community.
“He is known for his generous support for community causes and always at the forefront when it comes to helping local causes. He is a man of great character and always known for his humble nature and his grey smiling. He has a thriving business and cooks delicious quality foods.
“It’s hard to put into words how grateful we are for Mr Aziz and Aziz catering being in Bradford. Such a responsive business that puts profits secondary and puts valuable community causes first.”
Ridwana Wallace-Laher, director of Donor Care, at the charity Penny Appeal, also sings praise for Mr Ahmed. She said: “I am extremely grateful to Fatima who kindly suggested I get in touch with Mr Ahmed when I was looking for a local catering business to support my weekly homeless feeding.
“Mr Ahmed didn’t hesitate and straight away offered to donate several meals each week. I am eternally grateful to local businesses to put themselves forward to support local charity led initiatives. He is a real gem.”
Humayun Islam, chief executive of BEAP Community Partnership in Manningham, added: “Uncle Aziz always goes the extra mile to help & support everyone. A very kind & humble person and is a role model for our community. A truly inspirational individual and I would say arguably the best food in Bradford!”
This year, Mr Ahmed hopes to expand the space above the catering business in BD8 to a function hall. Check back regularly for updates.