A WINDSOR chef is celebrating his award-win after competing in a live cook-off event.

Ashwani Kumar, of the Mango Lounge, in Windsor, won the Asian and Oriental Chef Awards

Slough Observer: Ashwani Kumar won the award following a live cook-off event. Picture: Ashwani KumarAshwani Kumar won the award following a live cook-off event. Picture: Ashwani Kumar

The awards, which is open to professional chefs across all Asian and Oriental cuisines, nominations were invited from members of the public, restaurant critics, food journalists and bloggers.

Contestants prepared a starter and main course in an hour. 

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Marks were awarded for originality and creativity, technical skill, use of fresh local produce of known provenance, presentation, and flavour.

Ashwani’s winning entry was a Rice Crusted Tiger Prawn Martini, followed by Charcoal Smoked Guinea Fowl stuffed with spinach, feta cheese and pine nuts, rolled in pistachio served with black pepper and yoghurt sauce, beetroot froth, wheat crisps, sautéed pak choy, broccoli and oriental chili potatoes. 

The live cook-off event was held at Pillars Kitchen at the University of West London on Monday, February 21. 

Winners were presented at the House of Lords on Monday, March 2, which was also used to launch the 12th Asian Curry Awards sponsored by Just Eat.

Ashwani said: "I am very grateful and privileged to win this award, it will always be dear to me.

"It will always be a reminder of the hard work that we all have put in. Moreover, this award will only motivate me to achieve more success in the future.

"These types of awards will motivate more chefs within the industry to come forward and prove themselves."

Slough Observer: He collected the award at the House of LordsHe collected the award at the House of Lords

A panel of judges included Sameer Taneja, executive chef at the Michelin-starred Benares in London, Chad Rahman, head chef of the Mumtaj restaurant, in St Albans and food writer Mridula Baljekar, Thomas Chan, co-chairman of the Chinese Catering Association, Teddy Chen of the Malaysian Restaurants Association; and restaurant consultant George Shaw. 

The awards is organised by the Asian Catering Federation (ACF), which represents the UK’s 30,000 Asian and Oriental restaurants and takeaways.

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Chairman of the Asian Catering Federation Yawar Khan said: “Standards have risen exponentially since we launched our various awards to recognise the most innovative chefs.

“During the Covid 19 lockdown, restaurants had to survive on their takeaway and delivery offers, with even Michelin-starred restaurants turning to this avenue for the first time – with our sponsor Just Eat providing them with a vital route to market.”

The ACF will also be holding the Asian Restaurant Awards in Manchester on July 11 and in Scotland on September 19.