Rushanara Ali MP


Celebrating its monumental Golden Jubilee this year, the BCA welcomed an array of high profile celebrities, dignitaries, MP’s and VIP’s including HE Engineer Mosharrof Hossain, Bangladeshi Cabinet Minister for Labour and Non Resident Bangladeshis; HE Professor Dr Syed Modasser Ali, Adviser to Bangladeshi Prime Minister; Lord Bilimoria, Chairman of Cobra Beer; Keith Vaz MP; Greg Clarke MP; and Frank Dobson MP, to celebrate the announcement of the esteemed Best Caterer of the Year Award across 11 regions.  
The respected award ceremony was supported by Media Sponsors Zee Network (including Zee TV, Zee Café and Zing), the first and the world’s largest South Asian Entertainment Network to be launched in the UK, and Channel S, one of UK’s leading Bengali TV Channels.
The evening also acknowledged the monumental year for the UK curry industry as BCA celebrates 50 glorious years since its inception and also the 200th year since the first ever curry restaurant opened its doors to the UK public[1].   
The awards, presented by hosts, Eastenders actor Nitin Ganatra (‘Masood Ahmed’) and ‘Daybreak’ presenter Tasmin Lucia Khan, acknowledged the achievements of the most formidable Asian restaurants and restaurateurs spanning the UK, including Dinesh Bhatessa of Mint Leaf Restaurant & Bar, Haymarket, London, and Athair Khan of The Last Days of the Raj Restaurant, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear[2].

Tasmin Lucia Khan & Nitin Ganatra

Winners were selected for their outstanding achievements amongst their industry peers by a panel of judges comprising industry leaders and stalwarts, with curry and culinary expert, Pat Chapman, taking the lead role of advising this year’s Awards Advisory Committee.   
In addition, four coveted BCA Golden Jubilee Honour Awards were presented to Rushanara Ali MP; Anne Main MP; Late Alhaj Tara Miah Khan – the youngest member of the first ever BCA Central Committee; and Shykh Seraj – media personality and agricultural development activist. 
Guests were entertained with a sumptuous three-course banquet, interspersed with a line-up of world class entertainment acts including stage-stealing Bollywood dance company and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ semi-finalists Threebee; Bangladeshi cultural dance company Tal Taranga, and singing sensation Ash King, a master of melody who lent his vocals to hit songs for recent Bollywood films ‘Aisha’ and ‘Delhi 6’ and impressively boasts recent collaborations with Lady Gaga and R. Kelly.  
The 50th anniversary provided the perfect opportunity for BCA to celebrate its heritage, highlighting over five decades of unfettered commitment, extensive government lobbying and phenomenal achievement in creating and protecting what has gone on to become the nation’s favourite dish. At the same time, the anniversary celebration at this year’s award ceremony highlighted the challenges the curry industry and its dependent communities currently face. Through the toughest adversity, the BCA and its members work tirelessly together to preserve the curry industry’s inner strength and resources, and continue to provide the UK’s millions of residents and visitors with an excellent experience both inside the restaurants and the surrounding communities. 
In speaking at the event, Bajloor Rashid, President of BCA, said, “Everyone sitting in this room today is becoming part of history. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II sends her support to BCA and Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP wishes BCA and the Golden Jubilee celebrations all the success.  
BCA is the only organisation outside Bangladesh to serve the Bangladeshi community for half a century and I’m proud to represent those people that make curry in UK. After the Second World War, people were consuming curry in UK and it was getting very popular by 1960, with curry houses appearing all across UK. As it did, an organisation was set up to support the industry. I pay tribute to those great leaders and their great work.

For half a century now, BCA has been the guardian angel of Bangladeshi caterers in UK. It is inspiration for us that more than two million curry lovers visit curry houses each week in UK. Our members have only three rules: take care of customers, take care of customers and take care of customers. The year ahead presents uncertainty, but we guarantee that BCA will be there. We created the curry industry, now it’s the government’s responsibility to preserve it.”  In a recorded message,

Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said, “The BCA has made an enormous contribution to Britain and I’m incredibly proud of the Labour party’s contribution to your cuisine. I want to pay special tribute to Bajloor Rashid, President of BCA, for the amazing work he does, and I’m looking forward to working with you on our common concerns.”   
The BCA represents 12,000 British-Bangladeshi restaurants across the UK and was established in 1960 to represent the Catering Industry run by the ethnic Bangladeshis. At present, the industry employs more than 100,000 people, mostly Bangladeshi in origin, with an estimated yearly turnover of £4 billion.  
BCA Awards 2010 will be broadcast on Zee Café on Sunday 31st October, 4.30pm.

[1] The UK’s first ever curry house was opened in 1810 by Mr Dean Mohammed at 34 George Street, Portman Square, London.