An award-winning Northampton curry house has narrowly missed out on retaining its crown as the nation’s favourite – being awarded a ‘highly commended’ in the annual Tiffin Cup.
Having won the previous staging of the competition in 2016, Saffron, in Castilian Street, Northampton, was a finalist in this year’s Parliamentary search for the UK’s best South Asian cuisine.
Former Northampton College catering student Mohammed Shajahan represented Saffron in the House of Commons as a reward for completing his apprenticeship at the ever-popular town centre restaurant.
He said: “Being given the chance to represent Saffron as the restaurant attempted to retain its title was a huge honour. The Tiffin Cup is arguably the pinnacle of any curry chef’s career and I was given the responsibility after just three years in the trade. I’m very grateful for Saffron for putting their faith in me and I am proud of everything I have achieved.”
Saffron was nominated for the award by Andrew Lewer, Conservative MP for Northampton South.
Asian restaurants across the country are facing a recruitment crisis, with immigration laws making it difficult to attract chefs from their homeland.
Saffron owner Naz Islam has pledged to invest in training a new generation of young chefs to step in and has built strong links with Northampton College to encourage more young people to get into cookery.
The Tiffin Cup is awarded by the Tiffin Club of MPs, formed in 2006.
The aim is not only to applaud the quality of South Asian food in Britain but also to raise much-needed money for charity.