A take-away in Bristol which delivers free meals to key workers and homeless people has won a national award.
The awards recognise those who have worked hard to help their local community during Covid-19. It also celebrates innovative vision and exceptional food.
Naseem Talukdar, Rajastan, said: “This is a proud moment for our team and our customers, who voted for us. We have worked hard over the Covid-19 period and it’s great to get such recognition.”
The awards are organised by the Asian Catering Federation. They cover a range of national cuisines, including Chinese, Bangladeshi, Indian, Thai and Middle Eastern.
Hundreds across the country took part. The winners were announced during a live online ceremony, which was hosted by BBC TV presenter Samantha Simmonds.
Naseem is also a project manager for Plastic Pollution Awareness and Action Projects. The charity looks at alternatives to single-use plastic in the food industry.
Naseem has received a High Sheriff’s Award from the Lord-Lieutenant Bristol for his contribution to the city. He said: “It’s a great boost to confidence to receive such an award. We couldn’t have done it without the support of people in our community.
“We’ve received lots of positive messages, both in person and online. This event is an opportunity to see what others are doing in the industry and keep on improving our work.”
Free food for frontline workers and homeless people
Naseem’s own parents ran Indian restaurant Rupali and he led the Food 4 NHS Project.
The project was set up alongside campaign group UK Curry Connect (UKCC) and involved teams from takeaways and restaurants across Bristol. UKCC raises awareness of skills shortages in the Asian catering.
Together they delivered thousands of hot meals to frontline workers, who were working long shifts.
Naseem also campaigns for greater support for homeless people, as deaths rise for a fifth year in a row according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Naseem has organised the provision of hot meals and essentials for people on the street. He said: “Homelessness could happen to anyone and we are doing are bit to provide essentials. But more needs to be done – particularly during these difficult times.”
Land of the Kings
Chairman of the Asian Curry Awards Yawar Khan is keen to recognise great food and how recent measures are affecting the hospitality industry.
He said: “The team at Rajastan were deserving winners as they have given back to their community over the years and have upped this support since the coronavirus outbreak. In turn, their community showed their appreciation and voted for them to win this award.”
Rajastan means ‘Land of the Kings’ in Sanskrit. The arid state gave rise to creative dishes and an array of vibrant spices.
The team at Rajastan Royal bring a taste of the East inspired from various regions across the Indian subcontinent.