A POPULAR restaurateur has added to his collection of awards by winning the title of best Bangladeshi chef in Scotland.
Curry house owner Matin Khan has picked up a prestigious prize for his eatery in Dalkeith.
The 41-year-old, who runs Itihaas on the town’s Eskbank Road, attended the ceremony in London in front of 1000 guests, and was presented with his award by former England goalkeeper David Seaman.
He won the best Bangladeshi chef in Scotland title, an accolade which coincides with the country’s 40th anniversary of independence from Pakistan.
In addition to the successful premises in Dalkeith, he has opened another restaurant in Loanhead, and spoke about his passion both for the area in which he has lived for the past decade and the heritage of Asian Bengali food.
He said: “Bangladeshi food is an increasingly important part of the Asian cuisine offering, so winning this award is yet another tribute to the high standard of food consistently served at our restaurants in the Lothians.
“I believe cooking is an art form which needs to be created from the heart and perhaps that is the secret of this success.
“Curry is the spice of life and this shows that my team and I are better at making it than the rest.”
Mr Khan moved to the UK from Bangladesh at the age of 13, and grew up in Cambridge.
It was while on a business trip to Penicuik that he came up with the idea to open a curry house in the area.
He briefly worked for another restaurant in the area as a chef before approaching the Royal Bank of Scotland for help in allowing him to open his first 50-seat restaurant, employing six other people.
At the time he said although he was a fully trained chef, he would stay out of the kitchen, and travelled the UK to source the correct products. He even drove to Birmingham on a regular basis to find what he judged to be the best quality chicken. He also regularly samples other Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants across the Lothians to ensure he is keeping up with competition.
Last month he added to his business portfolio by opening Radhuni in nearby Loanhead.
The name means “passionate cook” in his native tongue, and he has created 10 jobs in the town, at the site of the old Gaffers pub in Clerk Street.
He said: “I thought long and hard before settling on this site for my new restaurant.
“I was surprised to learn that Loanhead had no Indian restaurant and wanted to fill such a big gap in the town’s eat-out offering.”
At the recent awards, organised by the Bangladeshi Caterers’ Association, his commitment to the curry industry was praised by communities minister Eric Pickles.