Glittering awards night

Mem-Saab winners


After much anticipation among some of the county's finest curry houses, Mem-Saab on Kimbolton Road, Bedford has finally been named as the ‘Bedfordshire Spice Restaurant of the Year 2012/13’. 


The result was announced at a glittering dinner held last month (Thurs 20th Sept) at The Mansion House, Biggleswade following a cook-off at Bedford College last month at which the restaurant’s head chef, Moshim Khan, served a mouthwatering menu including tandoori fish, chicken ajwain masala and beetroot halwa. 

Moshim head chef prepares meal

For Mem-Saab’s co-owner, Harjinder Kaur, who picked up the trophy on behalf of her staff, the announcement came as a wonderful surprise. “The whole team is delighted to have won this title and we are really proud of Moshim for putting us in the spotlight like this! I hope that it will encourage many more customers to come to our wonderful restaurant and sample our award-winning menu for themselves!” 


The restaurant narrowly beat Deshi Spice on Bedford’s Tavistock Street and Rajkot Indian Tapas on the town’s High Street, which were named as joint runners-up. 


The competition was the brain-child of Bedfordshire’s ‘Mr. Curry’, aka Raj Mandal, who is the General Manager of The Mansion House and himself a former ‘European Curry Chef of the Year’. It is his hope that it will serve to remind local people of the culinary talent that is now available across the county. “The standard of our local curry restaurants has improved immeasurably in recent years and I felt it was high time that we should be celebrating the excellence of our spice chefs here in Bedfordshire,” he said. “The cook-off judges had an almost impossible task in choosing their winner, and I’m left feeling very proud of the huge talent we have on our doorstep!” he added. 


More than eighty guests, including judges, restaurant owners, and competition supporters watched a video of the chefs in action at the cook-off before Fellow Master Chef of Great Britain and founder of BBC’s ‘Ready Steady Cook’, Steven Saunders announced the results. Among the diners was Simon King who, as the Regional Catering Controller for the competition sponsors Booker, the UK’s largest cash and carry operator, added his praise for the efforts of all three finalists. “Booker is a key supplier to businesses within the Indian community and we’re delighted to have supported this competition. We want to congratulate not only Mem-Saab but all those who took part, and wish them continued success in their culinary endeavours!” 


Meanwhile, the event proved to be a double celebration for Raj, whose select team of young chefs were responsible for the delicious three course meal served at the event. “As well as staging this competition, I’m also responsible for ‘Junior Team India’ which is taking part in the equivalent of the World Food Olympics in Germany this month. So the dinner was a perfect opportunity not only to allow our local restaurants to enjoy a well-deserved night off, but also to help my team to perfect their skills – and they did themselves proud!” 


Click here to watch the video from the day!

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