Hot Chilli in Bolton has scooped top honours at the Asian Restaurant & Takeaway Awards (ARTA) 2019, with the Champion of Champions Award. Held at the Park Plaza Hotel Westminster, the awards are in recognition of the UK’s best of South Asian, Thai and Chinese cuisine across a series of prestigious regional and national categories.
From the National Chef, Takeaway and Newcomer of the Year Award, to the Best Thai and Chinese Restaurants, Regional Takeaways and more, ARTA spotlighted the pinnacle of over 2400 applications across the UK. The grand award of Champion of Champions was awarded to crown the very best of a superb group of entrants from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Applications were refined using a survey of over 350,000 customers by ARTA official partners, ChefOnline – the digital application to order food and book tables on the go – to unveil the finalists.
The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of Ambassadors & Judges comprising Paul Stuart Scully MP, Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam; Stephen Anthony McPartland MP, Member of Parliament for Stevenage; Donald Sloan, Founder and Chair of the Oxford Cultural Collective; Dr Wali Tasar Uddin, Former President & Senior Advisor British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce in UK; Devon Malcolm, Ex England International Cricketer; Samantha Simmonds, Journalist and Broadcaster; and Judges Chand Rahman – Executive Chef, Multi Award Winning Celebrity Chef; Councillor Mohammed Mujibur Rahman – Ex-Mayor of Corby; Graham Taylor – Senior Chef Lecturer, Cambridge Regional College; and Kuldeep Singh, Lecturer & Celebrity Chef Nescot College.
The UK’s Curry industry contributes £5 billion annually, which as of 2015 has accounted for a fifth of the restaurants in the UK dating back to the 1800’s. Today there are more Indian restaurants in Greater London than in Delhi and Mumbai combined.
The event was hosted by renowned BBC News newsreader and ARTA ambassador Samantha Simmonds. The former Sky News anchor was joined by entertainer Paul Martin as co-host. Mixing hilarious stand-up comedy with magic tricks and performance, Paul has been entertaining audiences for the past twenty years.
Shek Abul Bashar of Hot Chilli said: “Wow, what an honour. To be named the Champions of all Champions is something everybody in this industry dreams of – it is an overwhelming honour. Asian food continues to rise in popularity in the UK. Without our loyal customers in the North West this would not have been possible, and we pride ourselves highly on the fact that people enjoy our food just as much as we enjoy making it. To be named the best is something we will cherish forever”.
Speaking about the Asian Restaurant & Takeaway Awards 2019, Salik Mohammed Munim, Founder Member and CEO of ARTA, said: “Year on year, the standard for this competition continues to defy imagination. With more entrants than ever before, we have been immensely impressed by the quality on show this year. We commend all the winners and finalists of ARTA 2019. The selection process has been rigorous, and we witnessed some remarkable contestants, therefore picking the winners wasn’t easy. All the winners and finalists should be equally proud.
Asian cuisine has embedded itself deep within the beating heart of British culture and brings about so much creativity, flavour, vibrancy and joy to so many. There is something truly special about the Asian cuisine industry, which binds communities, regions and an entire nation by the common love of incredible food. The ARTA is the perfect platform to recognise the magicians behind the magic that makes the food so superb”.