Habibur Khan became the youngest winner of a British Curry Award and immediately dedicated his restaurant’s triumph to his waitress diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The 120 seat Indian-Bangladeshi Radhuni in Loanhead was named best restaurant in Scotland at the British Curry Awards, held at a glittering, star-studded gala dinner attended by 1,700 VIPs and leading restaurateurs on Monday at the Battersea Evolution in London.
The awards, handed out by candidates from Lord Sugar’s hit BBC TV show The Apprentice, are given on a regional basis.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said 23-year-old Habibur, the restaurant’s managing partner and the youngest person ever to carry off one of the main awards, known as the ‘Oscars’ of the industry.
“Ever since I started working in restaurants at the age of 14 I dreamed of getting to the top of the profession and now Radhuni has reached that pinnacle,” Habibur said.
He added: “I’m honoured to bring this award home for our local communities in Midlothian but it really goes to our colleague Carol O’Reilly.”
Radhuni customers recently raised funds for the Macmillan charity during National Curry Week after being inspired by the waitress’s fight against bowel cancer.
This latest award for the Clerk Street restaurant and takeaway just continues the success it has enjoyed in the past couple of years. Last year Radhuni was named among Britain’s top 100 curry houses – the so-called ‘Hot Hundred’ – in the British Curry Awards.
Awards won by Radhuni in recent years have included Scotland’s Best South Asian Restaurant and Curry Chef of the Year for Head Chef Ashok Ram, and earlier this year Best Curry Restaurant in the Edinburgh area.
Habibur also paid tribute to his father Matin, who runs Itihaas restaurant in Dalkeith, and who himself won the title of Scotland’s Curry Chef of the Year in 2014.
“The powers behind Radhuni have been the head of kitchen and his staff, the front of house team and my mentor, my father,” he commented.
British Curry Awards organisers said the ceremony reached a worldwide viewing and listening audience of more than 400 million this year.
The curry industry encompasses more than 12,000 restaurants and is estimated to be worth £5 billion to the UK economy.