Curry contest cook-off

Things are hotting up in the local heats of the National Curry Chef competition 2003, as Merton Council announces the four finalists.

Eight local chefs entered the free competition and the first heats were held last week. The four entrants with the highest scores were as follows (in no particular order):
· Mr Mujibur Rahman, Chef from Tava Restaurant, 325 Haydons Road, Wimbledon
· Mrs Anarkoly Hossain, Chef from Shaad Food Products Ltd, 29 High Street, Colliers Wood
· Mr Shanaul Bakth, Chef from 340 Bombay Express, Kingston Road, Wimbledon Chase
· Mr Binu Raj, Chef from Cocum South Indian Restaurant, 9 Approach Road, Raynes Park.

Entrants were judged on taste, food hygiene and food safety. The judges were extremely impressed with the high quality of hygiene and cooking skills of all entrants.

The four selected finalists will now go head to head in the final at Merton College on Wednesday 9 July 2003. They will have one hour to produce three dishes, to include one main curry dish, one main complementary side dish and one bread or rice dish. A panel consisting of the following judges will then pick a winner:
· Mr Akabar, Experienced chef from Bait-ul-futuh mosque, Merton. Has cooked since the 1960’s and catered for up to 25,000 at religious festivals and events.
· Mr Soukias Tchilingirian, Chef/Lecturer Merton College
· Mayor of Merton, Councillor Maxi Martin
· Pippa Barnes, Principal Environmental Health Officer, Merton Council.

The winner will receive a trophy and prize money, which has been sponsored by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTCC), and will go on to represent the borough at the regional competition for the whole of London. Finalists will also receive prize money and certificates.

Mayor of Merton, Councillor Maxi Martin, said: “I am delighted to be involved in this competition as it is a unique opportunity for local chefs to display their culinary skills. I am looking forward to helping judge the dishes.”

Senior Environmental Health Officer, Maria Dane, said: “Congratulations go to all the entrants as they were of a very high quality. We were particularly pleased with the hygiene standards at all the restaurants.”

Merton is participating in the National Curry Chef Competition for the first time this year. The local competition was open to all registered food businesses within the borough of Merton.