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Eric Pickles congratulates India's culinary stars of the future

India Schools Young Chefs Awards 2012

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Eric Pickles with winner Aditi Chand and other contestants

On Monday (24 September 2012), Communities Secretary Eric Pickles joined Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar to announce the winners of India Schools Young Chefs 2012.

The prestigious awards held at Pillars Restaurant, The University of West London’s training kitchens, celebrated the achievements of 8 aspiring chefs - drawn from 3,000 schools and colleges from across India - that have been battling it out in a series of local culinary competitions.

Atul Kochhar with 2 aspiring chefs

Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar was one of the leading chefs judging the competition.

17 year-old Aditi Chand from Ahmedabad was judged the overall winner by a team of leading chefs that included top British Chef Sean Kenworthy who has worked as a restaurateur in India for the past 10 years.

Run by the University’s educational partner in India - The International Institute of Hotel Management - the event highlighted the importance of South Asian cuisine and the career opportunities available to those who wish to join the industry, worth over £3 billion to the UK Economy. The University of West London is 1 of the country’s 5 Centres of Excellence in Asian and Oriental Cuisine, set up with support from the Department for Communities and Local Government and People 1st, with the aim of encouraging young people to enter industry as paid apprentice chefs.

Welcoming India’s culinary stars of the future to London, Eric Pickles said:

“Congratulations to all the winners on their fantastic achievements in what has been a truly hard fought competition.

“Today, curry is part of the very fabric of national life and I want to ensure that Britain is one of the best places in the world for curry chefs to train.

“The test will be that if you are going to open a top-notch Indian restaurant in Connaught Place in New Delhi, you would want a graduate of the British catering school. And I look forward to the day when these stars will be presenting prizes to the creme of British culinary talent.”

More images from the event are available from the DCLG Flickr channel

Published 26 September 2012