Hot news! Preston can now boast the North West’s best Indian takeaway.
And the champion curries are the work of an English chef.
Jamie Palmer scooped a top prize for his Indian Express business in the industry’s “Oscars” this week – and he came close to making it a double in voting for the Northern Chef of the Year.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said the 37-year-old Prestonian. “There are hundreds of brilliant takeaways in this part of the country, so to be voted the best of the lot is beyond our wildest dreams.”
Indian Express was only set up in Fylde Road in 2012 by Jamie and his business partner Pete Kelly. But it has already become a big favourite with curry lovers across the city.
At the English Curry Awards in Salford, Jamie was the first non-Asian to be nominated in the finals of the chef category. He reached the last seven in the North of England, but was pipped at the post by a spice wizard from Sheffield.
But in the Takeaway of the Year category, Indian Express was voted one of nine regional winners, claiming the North West title from a host of tasty contenders, including those on the famous Curry Mile in Manchester.
“I’ve got to say I was a little bit surprised,” beamed Jamie, who says he owes much of his success to the kitchen coaching of his half-Indian wife Christina. “I was nominated in the chef category too, but I thought the takeaway class was where we probably had the best chance.
“It’s a great tribute to all the staff who work here. It’s a real team effort. And to win it will, I hope, put our name out there. Anything you can do to stand out from the crowd in Preston is brilliant, because the competition is so strong in this city. There are so many Indian takeaways here that you have to be excellent to stand any chance.
“When we first started out in 2012 we struggled because no-one knew who we were. But gradually our reputation has grown and it’s going well.
“I happen to think we have set up something special here at Indian Express. Even though I say it myself, the food is brilliant.
“Because I’m a white English guy my style is more Westernised, with a modern approach.”