Things got very heated on Sunday as chefs from across Sussex battled it out to see who makes the best curry.
The first chef of the year competition by Sussex Bangladeshi Caterers Association saw 21 entrants make a starter, a side dish and a main course using chicken within 75 minutes at Shoreham Academy in Shoreham.
A panel of judges then had to mark the chefs on hygiene and the presentation and taste of their food.
Nurul Islam from Worthing, the association’s organising secretary, described it as a ‘historic moment’ for the curry industry in Sussex.
“We have been in the industry for a long time, but no-one sees what we do until now.
“The curry industry is going through a terrible time at the moment so doing this event will make curries more lively and interesting.
“For this event, we have brought together chefs from East and West Sussex for the first time. I am so proud – it is a historic moment.”
Abdul Noor, one of the event organisers, hoped it would encourage young people to join the industry to stem its recruitment problems.
He added: “I’m pretty certain the chefs were very nervous, but they have gone home with a lot of experience – they don’t compete with other chefs on a local level.
“In months to come chefs will be coming out of their shell and creating new dishes.”
The judges included Eafor Ali, president of British Bangladeshi Caterers Association, who came from London to attend the event.
He said: “Some of these chefs are very good at their presentation and the food was so tasty I can see them doing very well in the future.
“Hopefully this event will encourage our children working in different sectors to run the industry our forefathers set up.”
Paul Roberts is restaurant manager for West Worthing Tennis and Squash Club and was also on the judging panel. He said: “I was impressed with the professionalism of the chefs involved in an unfamiliar environment. They all created excellent food in an extremely short space of time.
“Additionally it was nice to meet a group of people who all share a serious passion for great food.”
The winners and runners up of the competition will be announced during an awards ceremony at Worthing Assembly Hall on November 1.
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