Merton Chef Curries Favour


A chef curried favour in a cook-off final which earned him Merton’s Curry Chef 2010 award this week.


David Churchill

A chef curried favour in a cook-off final which earned him Merton’s Curry Chef 2010 award this week.
Shajahan Parambath of Cocum Restaurant, Raynes Park, scooped the coveted accolade after proving too hot for competition.
He wowed the judges with a trademark chicken Uluva Kootu with cabbage side and mushroom fried rice, earning the highest 5-star hygiene rating to boot.
The gruelling annual showdown was run by Merton Council at South Thames College to test the best curry chefs in the borough.
But Mr Parambath is no stranger to the heat having reached the final on two previous occasions, last winning the competition in 2006.
“It feels fantastic but the competition was very tight this time compared to other years,” he said.
“We were really excited and it was just such a great moment when the mayor announced that we’d won.
“Last time we didn’t win due to a few minor things but this time we had it perfect and we’re all really happy,” he said.
“I get all my inspiration from my father back home in Kerala.”
He added: “It’s not only the food but it raises awareness and gives the public a chance to engage with the culture.”
He also paid tribute to the high standard of Indian cuisine in Merton and called for the competition to be rolled out over London for cross-borough competitions.
President of India Association UK, Daljeet Singh Sher, said: “The whole concept of curries has evolved really positively and I think the competition should be spread across other boroughs, they should also participate and take an interest.”
Cocum owner, Mr Ismail Valapp, said he was proud that the restaurant’s sterling reputation was continuing.
In the nine years it has been open it has reached the final of the competition five times.
Mr Parambath was awarded a trophy, certificate and prize money after beating off competition from runners-up Mohammed Nurul Gioni of King Curry, Litu Khan of House of Spice and Kedar Das Arya of Chak 89.
He said he used the prize money to throw a big party for his team at the restaurant.
Councillor Andrew Judge said: “We are so lucky to have a number of excellent Indian restaurants in Merton. Every year we see top quality cuisine from our chefs. This is also an important opportunity to highlight the importance, not only of good cooking, but also of excellent hygiene standards at the restaurants.”

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