A who’s who of the gourmet curry scene gathered at the Tamarind restaurant in London for the first in a series of charity lunches to help raise funds for the scheme.
Backed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, The Asian Restaurant Skills Board - comprised of chefs and owners of London’s most celebrated Indian restaurants - is working with students at the Centres of Excellence in Asian and Oriental Cuisine to promote exciting careers in this thriving industry.
In addition to learning advanced cooking techniques and management skills, scholarship students are also undertaking work placements at top Asian restaurants and will be mentored by some of the country’s most talented chefs and restaurateurs.
At Sunday’s lunch DCLG Permanent Secretary Sir Bob Kerslake joined guests including award-winning chef and BBC 1 ‘Saturday Kitchen’ regular Cyrus Todiwala, along with Michelin starred chef Alfred Prasad. Over £12,000 was raised on the day with a series of further lunches and dinners to follow over the course of the year.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“The Asian Restaurant Skills Board is doing a tremendous job in bringing our finest chefs and restaurateurs together to promote British talent. This industry is a great British success story worth over £3 billion to the economy and a strong source for future jobs and growth. It’s also a celebrated industry with the number of Michelin stars awarded to our high-end restaurants proof that the nation’s favourite food is just as sophisticated as any other.
“The scholarship scheme, backed by our world-leading restaurants, is helping to ensure that young ‘elite’ chefs and managers can reach the very top of their profession. It also ensures that this country remains one of the best places in the world to train.”
The Asian Restaurant Skills Board has also launched its new Mastarachef campaign and website highlighting the work it is doing with government to match the growing demands for skills and talent in the sector.
On behalf of the Asian Restaurant Skills Board, Tamarind Collection CEO Rajesh Suri said:
“Its great to be joined by our friends in the Indian fine dining industry, coming together to create the Asian Restaurant Skills Board. Our motivation is rooted in our passion for food and a love for cooking. We are driven to prime the next generation of world class chefs with the techniques and knowledge to carry on the great traditions of Indian fine dining and bring palatable enjoyment to countless more people.”
Iqbal Wahhab, Chair of the Asian Restaurant Skills Board, added:
“This is a vital initiative to provide the next generation of talent in our industry. Whether it’s hosting fundraising events or providing work placements and apprenticeships, our members are actively investing in new talent from young Londoners who may have never previously considered entering the sector. With the right coaching, guidance and encouragement, these could be the next generation of masala millionaires!”