A CURRY chef from Weymouth has been shortlisted for the highest accolade in the industry - BCA curry chef of the year.

Sujon Mia from Shalim's Balti House in Weymouth has been shortlisted ahead of a prestigious national awards ceremony next month after doing battle in the cook-off stage of the competition.

A total of 27 chef finalists and 38 shortlisted curry houses will be battling it out to be crowned Best Curry Chef and Curry Restaurant of the Year at a glittering ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel on November 25, where the vindaloo victors will rub shoulders with celebrity guests, dignitaries and politicians.

The 13th annual Bangladesh Caterers’ Association (BCA) Curry Awards are the curry industry’s premier awards, backed by restaurants and chefs themselves and considered the ‘Oscars’ of the curry world.

The BCA represents more than 12,000 restaurants and takeaways across the country.

Judges will also be basing their decision on mystery shopping visits to finalists’ restaurants to assess innovation, food presentation, hygiene standards and customer service.

Hosts for the lavish evening include news anchor Tasmin Lucia-Khan, as well as actor and Celebrity Masterchef winner Alexis Conran.

The list of sponsors for next month’s awards feature a marinade of well-known brands, including: Cobra Beer, Kingfisher Beer, Chef Online, Kansara’s, Square Mile Insurance, Sunmark, Radhuni, Lisamo (Blue Box Deal), Shapla City Ltd, Gandhi Oriental food, Paytap, Aroma Icecream, Madhus and BCA Charity Partner British Asian Trust.

Kamal Yakub, BCA President, commented: “We are proud to showcase the talent of our chefs, who come from around the UK’s curry houses and takeaways. They work hard, serving their local communities and now it’s their time to shine and put themselves on the map.

“This is an industry in crisis. We have a shortage of skilled chefs skills nationwide, which is why this contest is so important.

“We are nurturing the next generation of chefs. With curry restaurants and takeaways closing at an alarming rate, Britain is rapidly losing a much-loved institution which, today, is as embedded in our culture as the local pub.”

Oli Khan, BCA Secretary General, said: “Being a chef myself, I know how hard this competition is and why it is so important for this industry.

“It’s a great way to put the spotlight on fantastic home-grown talent. We are full of pride at the way we have successfully spurred innovation and encouraged this industry to continually up its game.”

Saidur Rahman, Chief Treasurer of the BCA, added: “We are really proud to create a platform for the nation’s curry chefs to be recognised. After all, this industry is the fifth largest employer in the UK.”