Thursday, 8 January 2015

The nation’s best: the winners from British Kebab Awards 2015

In the kitchen at Sheesh - again winners of this year's Fine Dining Award

Some one thousand people attended the British Kebab Awards last night, where they were bizarrely treated to curry along with kebabs as they heard this year’s winners. Now in its third year, the British Kebab Awards (BKA), organised by the Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS) threw up a range of new and familiar names in the business, with a host of surprise winners too.

The brain child of İbrahim Doğuş (restaurateur – Troia), Mustafa Topkaya (pioneering kebab restaurateur), and Timur Ekingen (editor of Londra Gazete), BKA was set up with the aim of helping to promote kebabs, both as a tasty and nutritious meal, and also for its important contribution to the British economy.

The sector is annually worth £2.2 billion to the British economy. There are an estimated 17,000 businesses involved in the kebab chain – from suppliers to restaurants and takeaways – which collectively employ over 70,000 people.

Kebabs are on an upward trajectory

While kebabs are the staple fodder of countries from Greece through to India and all nations in between and many beyond, at the forefront of the UK industry are Turks and Kurds. They have taken what was traditionally a late-night drunken snack and presented it in a totally new light, using top quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods, some even opting for fine dining environments.

The humble kebab is on an upward trajectory that will continue to grow with the likes of Alan Yau (of Hakkasan and Wagamama fame) joining the party with his newly opened West End eatery Babaji Pide and other leading chefs set to do the same in 2015.
Fine dining restaurant Haz's head chef & owner Haci Akdogan this year's Best Chef 
Of course, standards continue to vary and the industry is plagued by rogues. Only last week a kebab eatery in Havering, near Romford, was fined £7,500 after a 3-inch drill bit was found in a customer’s döner kebab! However, the positive profile of kebabs continues to grow, aided significantly by events such as these.

So on to the BKA winners.

There were 14 categories, among them Best Takeaway, Best Value, Fine Dining, Best Newcomer, and Best Chef. Local politicians and people were asked to nominate the best ones in their area, and of course outlets and businesses could nominate themselves. Their local council score on aspects such as hygiene and environment get included into the scoring mix, along with how many local votes each outlet amasses. From these, a shortlist is drawn up – see here for the BKA 2015 Shortlist

The BKA judges, who this year included Baroness Meral Ece-Hussein, restaurateur James Breslaw and Önder Şahin – owner of Ev and the Tas chain – then visit all those on the shortlist to judge them on a range of criteria, while the public continues to cast their vote for their favourite kebab joints. The two verdicts are then combined and the winners determined.

And the winners of the British Kebab Awards 2015 are:

Chicken kebab courtesy of Super Kebab - Best Takeway in London
Best Chef Award of the Year
Winner: Haci Akdogan (head chef/owner, Haz Restaurant chain)

Best Young Chef
Joint winners: Murat Poyraz (Blue Legume chain) / Mazlum Demir (Skewd Kitchen, Cockfosters)

Altan & Co Award for Fine Dining
Winner: Sheesh, Chigwell

Paragon Quality Foods Award for Best Takeaway in London
Winner: Super Kebab/Ocakbasi, Stoke Newington

Bulldog Power Energy Drink Award for Best Takeaway Outside London
Winner: Botan Kebab House, Liverpool

Dishes from Kebabalicious - winners of Best Delivery
JUST EAT Award for Best Delivery
Winner: Kebabalicious, Manchester

Big K Award for Best Value
Winner: Selale Restaurant, Harringay

Harlequin Printing & Packaging Award for Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Durum Ocakbasi, Golders Green

Best Related Business of the Year
Joint winners: Baran Meat / Veli’s Doner Kebab Manufacturers

Outstanding Contribution to the Kebab Industry
Winner: Edmonton Meat

Best Newcomer Kebab Restaurant
Winner, London: Pivaz, Clapton
Winner Outside London: Hill Café & Bistro, Huntingdon

Best Kebab House in Northern Ireland
Winner: The Sphinx, Belfast

Best Kebab House in Scotland
Winner: Javit’s, Edinburgh

Best Kebab House in Wales
Winner: Pizza Choice, Cardiff

BKA co-founder İbrahim Doğuş with Gulfer Gulener at last night's awards ceremony. Photo: Peray Ahmet


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