Restaurateur becomes youngest-ever winner at British Curry Awards
- Credit: British Curry Awards
The 23-year-old managing director of a Royston restaurant has become the youngest winner of a British Curry Award.
British Raj Express in Kneesworth Street was crowned winner in the 'best takeaway during the pandemic' category in this year's awards, which focused on 'industry heroes' who have worked to provide food and support to communities and frontline workers during COVID-19.
Managing director Safwaan Choudhury, who was born and grew up in Royston, said: "It has always been a childhood dream to win a British Curry Award.
"I am thrilled for our team at British Raj Express, for our hardworking chefs, our management team, our friendly delivery drivers. I truly believe that team work makes the dream work."
At 23 years old, Safwaan is the youngest winner in the history of the awards, which were hosted for the 16th year running in December, in association with Just Eat.
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In an introduction to the awards, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "They have selflessly, tirelessly, and, without prompting, gone out of their way to help their local community, the vulnerable, isolated, and the NHS by supplying much-wanted curries, kindness and support."
This year, Safwaan's team delivered in excess of 3,000 complimentary meals to NHS and key workers across Herts, Cambridgeshire and London, as well as supporting footballer Marcus Rashford in tackling child food poverty during October half term.
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Safwaan and his father Siraj were awarded Hero of Hertfordshire accolades by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire for their services to the community, with BBC news also reporting on their endeavours during the height of the pandemic.
Safwaan said: "2020 was an extremely difficult year for everyone across the globe, but we have strived to rise to the challenge and serve our community.
"Thank you once again to our loyal customers for supporting us."
The British Curry Awards, which are regarded as the 'curry Oscars', were streamed live this year, and were hosted by impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner.
It is estimated that British curry houses have donated around five million meals to key workers and those in need during the pandemic.