Bradford Curry Awards returns with new two-day Mela

The Bradford Curry Awards are back, and they’re bigger and better than ever, with a two-day Mela event leading up to the prestigious awards ceremony.

The event, which recognises the very best of Bradford’s booming curry industry, returns to the city on Monday, July 25, at the Bradford Hotel, with the Mela taking place across Centenary Square on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24.

The Curry Mela will feature an exciting array of food stalls and entertainment. Masterclasses with renowned chefs from across the region will show visitors how they create their much-loved traditional dishes and burgeoning fusion blends. The Mela is a free event, but masterclasses should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.

There will be a heritage area, where visitors will see the original menus and recipes used. MyLahore restaurant is celebrating 20 years in business and Aagrah marking 45 years’ success.

Launched amid much fanfare in 2018 by Fatima Patel, the founder, managing director and editor of Asian Standard newspaper, the Bradford Curry Awards have made history by bringing together leaders from the city’s sizable curry sector for the first time under one roof to celebrate the half-billion-pound industry.

The third annual Curry Awards were originally due to be held in April 2020 but had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The event is one of the most eagerly-anticipated on the region’s calendar. Following two years lost to the pandemic, it will pick up where it left off, featuring a host of new categories and culminating with a glitzy award ceremony, at the Bradford Hotel, Hall Ings, on Monday July 25 from 6.30pm

The prestigious awards night brings together the crème-de-la-crème of Bradford’s booming curry industry. It is also a wider celebration of the city’s vibrant Asian culture and the culinary craftsmanship that goes into making Bradford the curry capital of Britain and one of the UK’s most treasured food destinations. 

The awards will bring together curry lovers to celebrate this rich heritage, highlighting the finest examples of South Asian cuisine and honouring the industry dedicated to serving it up.

From recognising the best restaurants to the best dishes, the Bradford Curry Awards will also honour the unsung heroes who work hard behind the scenes, such as the chefs, who ensure locals and tourists alike are served with the most amazing selection of food.

The glamorous evening will certainly be rolling out the red carpet, with entertainment, inspirational speakers, comedy and a delicious four-course meal. 

Above all, it’s the only event where you will find all of Bradford’s curry industry movers and shakers gathered together in one room and get chance to meet decision-makers, business leaders, politicians and community leaders.

Nominations for the awards have been pouring in thick and fast and there’s still a last chance for fans to nominate their favourite curry houses until Thursday, July 7, at noon, when nominations will be verified and shortlisted. To nominate visit: https://bradfordcurryawards.co.uk/award/

The shortlist will be announced on Sunday, July 10, and a panel of esteemed judges will then take over and pick the winners, who will be announced on the night.

Fatima Patel said: “I am really excited at the number of nominations we have received so far this year, it’s been a record number, which shows people really do love their curry in Bradford. 

“This year we chose to add a two-day curry Mela before the lead-up to the curry awards, because people need a reason to come together, after the tumultuous two years of lockdown – and what better way than food? The Curry Mela is a great way to remind people that we are food lovers and through the language of food, we can celebrate our heritage and culture in unity.

“This year much of the excitement will be around the new Curry Mela and all the great tourism it will bring into the city. It will be a celebration of South Asian heritage, food and culture and will also preserve the history of traditional curry recipes and the journey of one of the city’s most popular cuisines.

“We’ll have renowned chefs putting on masterclasses, stalls to sample delicious food and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. The weekend celebration will then be followed by our prestigious award ceremony that recognises the absolute best who work in Bradford’s curry industry.”

Shiraz Ahmed is Director of SaveCo Cash and Carry, the official shopping partner for the Mela. He said: “It’s an honour to be part of a ground-breaking event that’s coming hot on the heels of Bradford winning the UK City of Culture 2025. It’s a really exciting time and we’re fully confident this is going to be a great event for Bradford and the north region.”

Sponsors of the event include The Bradford Hotel, Fever FM, Visit Bradford, Bradford BID, The Great Victoria Hotel, SaveCo Cash and Carry and The Meat Company.

Timetable of events:

Bradford Curry Awards Mela Sat-Sun, July 23 & 24.

11am – 8.30pm City Park, Free entry.

Hosting all the events, will be former BBC presenter of the One Show and comedian Tommy Sandhu.

Masterclasses, Saturday July 23:

1pm: Walking down memory lane with Waxi of Sweet Centre AKA Waqar of BBC2’s Great British Takeaway fame.

3.30pm: Pioneering Mr Mohammed Aslam of the Aagrah group gives his top tips on running a successful restaurant business. 

6.30pm: Radha, finalist of last season’s Master Chef shares her top vegan/vegetarian curry creations.

Masterclasses, Sunday, July 24:

1pm:  Chutney & Chaat with Sabra Kader of Mumbai Bites

3.30pm: Pioneering Mr Mohammed Aslam of the Aagrah group gives his top tips on running a successful restaurant business.

6.30pm: Radha, finalist of last season’s Master Chef shares her top vegan/vegetarian curry creations.

To buy tickets for the awards night visit: https://bradfordcurryawards.co.uk/book-your-tickets/

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