It is that time of the year again when cities across Britain are stocking up on their spices, and writing their recipes for success, to fight for the right to Chapati! Over 20 cities will be going head-to-head with their curry loving opponents to win the coveted title of Curry Capital of Britain.
It was a sad year last year for four time winners Glasgow, after Bradford and their beast of a Bahji proved too much to compete with, pushing them to second place position.
This year things are heating up, and Glasgow is ready to do whatever it takes to regain the title. Will there be a giant Dhal swimming pool? A naan frisbee competition? So many questions! We went straight to the source, speaking to Glasgow City Council Lord Provost Sadie Docherty about Glasgow’s game plan, and what makes their city worthy.
- You just won Curry Lover of the Year in the hungryhouse Scottish Curry Awards – there were many disappointed curry enthusiasts out there who were sure they would win, what do you think got Glasgow City Council across the line?
Glasgow is a city of many curries and cultures with almost 80 Indian restaurants and numerous takeaways operating in the city. We are passionate about our food and enjoying a good curry is a part of Glasgow life. I truly believe that it’s this enthusiasm and passion that has helped us win the Curry Capital of Britain title four times. And, with no other city having won the competition more than twice, I think that puts us ahead of the game, which in turn gave us an advantage over the other competitors to win the Curry Lover of the Year award.
- Last year Bradford won Britain’s Curry Capital with help from that great big Bhaji – what lengths will Glasgow City Council be going to this year to win back the title?
I don’t want to give too much away to the other competitors, our bid documents are always innovative and this year’s looks set to be one of our most innovative in terms of promoting Glasgow for what it is – diverse, dynamic, energetic and, of course, hot for curry! We put a lot of effort and hard work into each and every one of our bid documents we submit for the Curry Capital competitions and that has paid off for us.
- The multicultural community in Glasgow brings a number of things to the city, in particular the food and drink culture – In Glasgow there are more restaurants of Punjabi origin than any other. What does Glasgow do for their ethnic communities?
Glasgow is easily Scotland’s most ethnically diverse city, with one in 20 Glaswegians of minority ethnic origin. This fact is reflected in the scores of curry houses, which have fully embraced Glasgow’s energy and creativity. Glasgow and curry is like the perfect mix of invigorating spices.
There are more than 80 languages spoken in Glasgow and nearly one in five Glasgow school children are from an ethnic minority group.
Glasgow City Council is committed to providing high quality services that can be used by everyone in the community. We provide enormous support to over 60 black and ethnic minority organisations that deliver help and advice to our ethnic residents.
We host a range of festivals to celebrate the diversity of our city. Glasgow Mela, for example, is one which has been developed to represent the coming together of many people, from many cultures, to celebrate their shared diversity. The Mela was originally created in 1990, as part of Glasgow’s celebrations as European City of Culture, this event is now Scotland’s largest multi-cultural extravaganza of music, dance and interactive acts.
- Which four restaurants have been chosen to represent Glasgow in the awards?
Voting for restaurants will close on Friday 24 August so we won’t be able to answer that question at the moment. But I am sure whichever restaurants are chosen to be ambassadors for Glasgow will do us all proud and help Glasgow win back the title it deserves.
- How are the restaurants which will represent Glasgow chosen?
We encourage the public vote for their favourite restaurants with the top four going forward to represent the city in our bid to be Curry Capital of Britain. We have developed a Curry Capital webpage where online nomination forms can be completed – www.glasgow.gov.uk/currycapital. We also wrote to all Indian restaurants in Glasgow with a hard copy of the nomination form that they could copy to encourage their customers to vote for them.
- As part of the competition all the restaurants are required to hold a charity dinner, what does this involve?
It is up to the individual restaurants to decide what type of fundraising they will do to support Curry Tree Charitable Trust. The organisers of Curry Capital commended us for donating more than any other city in the 2010 and 2011 competition. I’m sure this year’s restaurateurs will be as equally eager to fundraise – another trait our city and citizens are known for is our generosity when donating to charity. This year, the council will be doing some of its own fundraising by inviting all staff to dress down on Friday 27 July and donate a £1 – or more – which will go to The Curry Tree Charitable Fund.
- Do you think you would ever get tired of eating curry?
No never – Glasgow has many unique Indian restaurants each serving up a huge variety of innovative and mouth watering dishes. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting tired of eating curry – not in Glasgow.
- If Glasgow had to choose their all-round favourite Indian dish what would it be?
It’s been said that chicken tikka masala was first created in Glasgow’s Shish Mahal in the early 1970s and whether it’s true or not, I think it makes this dish very close to our hearts.
- What will you be doing to celebrate the win?
Cooking up a curry!!
Are you convinced? Should Glasgow City Council once again be named Curry Capital of Britain? If you think so then you can vote for them here. If not, tell us which city you think is worthy of the title.