The hottest and most exciting food competition on the entire island of Ireland has just been launched.

The inaugural Irish Curry Awards in association with Cobra beer and Yelp! are now open for entry.

The awards scheme is the brainchild of Belfast-based restaurateur Ali Askir. The owner of SAFA says the time has come to create a specialist Asian awards scheme to recognise the contribution made to Ireland’s food scene by hundreds of Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and other Asian chefs, restaurant workers and managers.

“Asian food is now as popular and as widespread as the full Irish, the Ulster Fry and Irish stew,” said Mr Askir, who in the interests of fairness and impartiality has ruled himself out of the competition.

“Curry houses employ thousands of people right across Ireland and play a significant role in the local economies of communities everywhere. I believe the time has come to formally recognise this contribution and what better way to do this than through the Irish Curry Awards?”

Launch Pic 1

Martin Breen (Sunday Life), Allison Morris (Irish News), Joris Minne (Food Critic), Cate Conway (Q Radio), Ali Askir (Safa)

The Irish Curry awards will consist of six categories including Best Chef, Best Young Chef, Best Restaurant, Best Front of House, Best Takeaway and Best Newcomer.

You can nominate your favourite restaurant on the website

A quota of votes will then be calculated at the close of entries to create a shortlist of restaurants county by county. A panel of expert judges including food writers and editors from broadcast and leading newspapers will select the winners. An awards ceremony will be held in Belfast on October 24 with all profits going to The Children’s Heartbeat Trust.

Philip Morgan, National Account Executive for Molson Coors, distributor of Cobra in Northern Ireland says quality beer goes hand in hand with quality curry. “Cobra beer’s link with the Irish Curry Awards is a perfect fit as we expand in the Irish markets north and south. Our focus is to showcase our great Cobra beer via the Indian restaurant sector and this is a great way to help achieve that,” said Mr Morgan.

Stevie McIntyre from Yelp! says the listings site has a strong tradition of involvement with the restaurant sector. “We recently ran the successful Yelp! Burger Off in Belfast and to be working with the Irish Curry Awards is something very exciting for us, particularly as they are such a feature of our towns and villages right across Ireland,” said Mr McIntyre.

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