The winners of the Matchfit National Junior Curry Chef competition have been crowned in a hotly fought cook off contest in Bradford ““ the UK’s curry capital.

Aishah Amin (16) from Queensbury School claimed the title in the 18 & under category with her Seafood Masala while Abel Petho (18) of Newcastle College won in the 18 & under category with a Northumbrian Red Lamb Curry.

Bradford College led the nationwide search for the UK’s best young curry cook and hosted the finals of the competition. The aspiring chefs were were given just 90 minutes to perfect their signature dish.

The third year of the prestigious event ““ set up to highlight the shortage of curry chefs in the UK ““ saw the up and coming talent trying to curry favour with acclaimed judges from the Aagrah Group of Restaurants, Dragon Thai, Kiplings Restaurant and last year’s winner, Habiba Khan.

Colin Burt, trainer assessor and competition organiser, said: “Curry may be the UK’s favourite dish but there remains a shortage of curry chefs and restaurateurs throughout the country continue to struggle to find chefs with the necessary skills to work in this sector. The Matchfit Junior Curry Chef Competition was originally designed to address this shortage but has evolved to be a showcase of the country’s best young culinary talent.

“In this year’s regional heats there were some strong contenders and they did not let us down in today’s final. It was a very close call but luckily there was no ‘argy-bhaji’ amongst the judging panel who were unanimous in choosing two very worthy winners in Aishah and Abel. I’m sure they have a great future ahead of them.”

Matchfit is funded by the European Social Fund, the Skills Funding Agency and Calderdale College.

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