Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski dropped in to congratulate one of the town’s curry restaurants on its latest national award and announced he would nominate it as his entry for next year’s House of Commons Tiffin Cup.
Mr Kawczynski paid a visit to Café Saffron, in Hill’s Lane, to congratulate executive chef and restaurant owner Mohammad Azad on winning a prestigious Chef of the Year award for the second year running.
And the curry loving MP was so taken by Mr Azad’s award-winning Capsila Murghi dish, made with fresh Shropshire chicken, spices and Shrewsbury honey that he declared it had to be his nomination for next year’s Tiffin Cup, a competition held at The House of Commons to find the best South Asian restaurant in the UK.
Mr Kawczynski praised Café Saffron for helping to put Shrewsbury on the national and international map. Mr Azad was voted one of the best curry chefs in the UK, for the second year, at this year’s 2015 Chef of the Year Awards hosted by Curry Life magazine at a celebrity studded ceremony in London.
He was also recently photographed by the New York Times and appeared on the front page of the newspaper’s international edition, commenting on a national shortage of UK curry chefs.
“Anything that puts Shrewbury on the map deserves our congratulations and support,” said Mr Kawczynski, who also donned chef’s whites and got the chance to learn some curry cooking skills during his visit.
“If we have a curry house achieving such high awards this is something we must recognise. I pay tribute to everybody here for the great success they have made of this business.
“I am very proud of the fact that a Shrewsbury chef has achieved such national recogition. Café Saffron will now get an opportunity to represent Shrewsbury in the House of Commons Tiffin Cup.”
The Tiffin Cup is awarded every year by the cross-party Tiffin Club of MPs, formed in 2006 by Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, Labour MP Keith Vaz and former Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett. The competition receives nearly 100 entries from around the UK.
One restaurant from every region is shortlisted and the winner is judged by a panel of professional chefs and guest celebrities at a grand final cook-off at the House of Commons in the autumn. Each year the winning dish is added to the Tiffin Club menu at the Commons.
Mr Azad said: “We really want to thank Mr Kawczynski for coming to congratulate us in person. He genuinely seemed to really love the food and we’re very touched that he wishes to nominate us for the Tiffin Cup.”
Last year Mr Azad was one of only seven chefs, chosen from around the UK, to showcase the best of British curry to international delegates at the Taste of Britain Curry Festival in Slovenia. Café Saffron has won many regional and national awards.