The BCA Awards 2011

Posted on Analysis Dec 2011 - by Tandoori Editor
The BCA Awards 2011

Celebrating the success of UK curry houses, the BCA will soon be holding its 2011 event. Its president Bajloor Rashid talks to Tandoori.

A glittering annual event to say the least, The Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA) will be holding their sixth annual awards in December.  The Awards give a unique opportunity to celebrate the entrepreneurial talent of UK’s best curry houses, which has helped make curry amongst the nation’s favourite dishes.

Along with the coveted ‘Caterer of the Year Awards’, there will be 11 Chef of the Year Awards also being presented covering nine regions in the UK and four Honour Awards in recognition of outstanding achievement in Civic Society.

The Bangladesh Caterers Association in their 51st year, are UK’s oldest, largest and strongest pressure group, which represent over 12,000 British Bangladeshi Restaurants and Takeaways.  

Hosted by Tasmin Lucia Khan, of ITV’s Daybreak, in front of an audience of 1000 guests, which includes a host of dignitaries, celebrities, parliamentarians and the crème de la crème of the curry elite, the ceremony will take place in the opulent setting of the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge.

Attending the event will be the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and the recipients of last year’s BCA Golden Jubilee Honour Awards Anne Main MP and Rushanara Ali MP.

On receiving her award last year Rushanara Ali, the first British Bangladeshi MP said, “The British Bangladeshi catering industry is the backbone of our community and the springboard of success for future generations.”

As well as promoting the successes of the Curry Industry the BCA have united with People 1st  - the sector skills council for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism - to address the existing chef crisis and support the training and apprenticeships of Asian and Oriental chefs soon to be rolled out across five new Hospitality Guild Centre’s around the UK.

How do the BCA support their members?

Bajloor Rashid (BR): We are passionate about our members acting as a pillar of strength and a support mechanism for this thriving industry. We strive to ensure that the views and the interests of the Bangladeshi curry industry are represented. Many ways, we are an organisation that was needed and formed to support each other. It needed someone to talk to the government and lobby on their behalf. If any of our members have any problems we have many committees that can help. I feel that for any problem, we have a system in place to offer support.

What are the Aims & Objectives of the BCA?

Number one is the development of our industry, and number two is every organisation needs a platform or body to represent all the different levels, for example when the BCA was established in 1960 there were only 300 curry houses now there’s over 12000. I believe that’s because of organisations like ours.

How have you seen the industry change during your four year BCA President role?

I have been president since 2007 and the industry has changed a great deal with a lot of development. Since I have been in the industry it has always been developing, however it is only in the last 12 months that we have really felt the changes with the recession hitting us too. Food wise, it is as popular as ever and becoming increasing popular. One problem is the immigration cap which is not helping us at all as we need skilled chefs and we don’t have enough trained staff. We want to train the younger generation, as they are currently not joining our industry. We are encouraging the youngsters.

What is your key message for the public, for the government and for people who want to work in this industry?

This is such a great industry that was created by our ancestors; it’s a £4.1billion industry with 150,000 people working within it. We need to support this as it affects a lot of people and their jobs. We need everybody’s support to keep the industry going.

Please reflect a little on the BCA Awards 2011?

The awards give a unique opportunity to celebrate the fantastic entrepreneurial talent of UK’s best curry houses, which has helped make curry amongst the nation’s favourite dishes.  The BCA again this year are looking forward to celebrating the success of many of the UK’s greatest curry house entrepreneurs. They have had to face many trials and tribulations however they continue to strive to ensure the authentic taste of curry is delivered to UK’s curry connoisseurs. 

Is there a new award category for 2011? 

Yes, this year along with the coveted ‘Caterer of the Year Awards’, we will be introducing the Chef of the Year Awards. It has become increasingly evident that despite the lack of accreditation we should be recognising and rewarding existing skills and talent.

What is the BCA vision for the future?

Our vision is to promote our industry and food worldwide and we want to share our success and take it over to Europe and the USA. Our next plan is to have a base in Europe.  The vision is to continue to tackle the chef shortage and the lack of interests or enthusiasm to join our industry by the younger members of the community.  We hope that our work with People 1st will provide the platform and opportunity to do so. 

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