Years ago curry was known only to those with connections to the
British Raj in India and very few restaurants existed in Britain for
diners to enjoy.
Then in 1809 along came the
amazing Sake Dean Mahomet from Bihar in India to open The
Hindoostanee Coffee House at 34 George Street off Portman Square in
London's West End to introduce "the enjoyment of Hookha, with
'real chilm tobacco', and Indian dishes 'in the highest perfection,
and allowed by the greatest epicures to be unequalled to any curries
ever made in England".
The restaurant did not last long
but Mahomet went on to become 'Shampooing Surgeon to King George IV'
and it would be over 100 years before the next Indian restaurant
would grace the streets of Britain.
200 years later curry is widely
recognised as 'Britain's National Dish' and 23 million of us enjoy
the spicy creations every year.
To mark this success story
National Curry Week is changing its direction for 2009 after 10 years
of raising money for a variety of charities. The same element of fun
will remain with restaurants challenged to go for the World Poppadom
Tower record, beaten by a restaurant in Blackpool in 2008, or the new
Samosa-building speed record. The difference this year is that all
monies raised will go to The Curry Tree Charitable Fund whose
Trustees include top restaurateurs Cyrus Todiwala MBE DL ; Enam Ali
MBE ; Rajesh Suri and Gulu Anand.
National Curry Week 2009 will be
asking that target group of 23 million curry fans to donate just
£1 per person per year to the cause. Donations can be made
throughout the year with National Curry Week being the culmination
and celebration of achievements. 50% of money raised will go to
worthy causes in the sub-continent as directed by the Trustees with
an emphasis on natural disasters and, most excitingly, 50% to the
education and upskilling of staff for the Asian sector to give
tangible help to the Government's efforts at helping the staffing shortages.
Over the next two months,
Britain's 9500 Asian restaurants will be invited to join in the
scheme to ask their customers to support The Curry Tree Charitable
Fund and help build for the future. "Nothing should stop us
from helping those who are less fortunate than us." said
Rajesh Suri, CEO of top West End restaurant Tamarind.
Details of participating
restaurants will appear on the website www.nationalcurryweek.co.uk
and if your local restaurant is not involved you can donate direct.
Every person donating their £1 will be able to download,
completely free, the unique turning pages ebook called Recipes For
Success 2009 valued at £5.99 full of recipes from the top Indian chefs.