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County Durham chef crowned International Indian Chef of the Year

Chef Milon Miah of Spice Island Restaurant, Barnard Castle, Teesdale, was announced last night as the winner of the prestigious International Indian Chef of the Year Competition at an awards dinner held at the ILEC Conference Centre, West London.

As patron of the charity for which the dinner was in aid of, Columba 1400, HRH Princess Anne presented Milon Miah (pictured left) with the award.

The competition was set up in 1991 by world-famous chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur, Tommy Miah (pictured second right, and of no relation to Milon Miah), who won an MBE earlier this year for his contribution to the hospitality industry.

Chef Milon Miah, who was earlier this year announced Curry King of the North East, following his appearance on TV programme, The Chef, wowed the judges during the finals with his starter of Borta Roulette – a selection of potato-based dishes - and a main of venison served alongside lightly spiced and pan-fried asparagus.

Milon Miah said, “Winning the International Indian Chef of the Year Awards really means a lot to me – it is the ultimate competition in the Indian hospitality scene. I was up against some amazing finalists whose dishes will have no doubt astounded the judges. It is fantastic to see how much talent there is out there – the Indian culinary scene should be celebrated given its contribution to British culture, and the competition does just that.”

From the seven finalists, Shanker Pandey, Everest Inn, Ashford was the runner up, and Manish Chancha, Moksh Indian Restaurant, Cardiff took the third place.

The finalists prepared their dishes and were watched closely by the judges who were looking out for a range of factors, including how the chefs’ cooking areas were kept and managed, the ingredients used in the dishes, the innovation of the flavours and the texture of the ingredients used.

When the cooking time was up, the chefs then had 15 minutes to pack up their creations before transporting them to King’s Cross, where finalists and judges boarded a Virgin train to York, for the judging process. Aboard the train, the finalists served up their dishes and presented them to the judges.

Tommy Miah said, “This year’s competition saw some amazing chefs compete to win the award for the International Indian Chef of the Year. I want to thank not only the finalists and the judges for their efforts, but also the rest of those who entered the competition – over 10,000 from all over the world. I am excited to see what is next for Milon Miah as his cooking is truly breathtaking.”