Fri 19th February

Masti London: An Indian Restaurant Standing Strong

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Rated the Best Curry House in Wembley on Trip Advisor, Authentic Indian Restaurant Masti remains strong as UK curry houses close at rapid rate

Two¹ curry houses are forced to shut down every week in Britain due to a shortage of tandoori chefs, industry experts have revealed.

There are around 12,000 Indian eateries in Britain, employing more than 100,000 people. Customer demand for Indian food is still as strong as ever but a third of restaurants and takeaways are now in danger of closure because curry houses simply can’t find qualified chefs.

This news comes amid recent changes to VISA and migration rules in the UK. In a bid to nurture more home-grown talent, the Government has put a cap on the number of skilled migrants allowed from outside the EU, and the chefs who do arrive in the UK must earn at least £29,570 per year. That’s £5,000 more than the average salary within the industry.

However, home-grown talent is sparse because many Indian restaurants in Britain were set up in the 1970s by owners who had just arrived in the UK. Those owners are now nearing retirement and they don’t have anyone to pass their businesses on to because their own children are opting for higher paid careers.

Masti London is one of the UK’s Indian restaurants standing strong. In fact, the restaurant is rated as the best curry house in Wembley on TripAdvisor, which is no small feat in an area so densely populated with Indian eateries and a predominantly Asian clientele whose expectations are high.

Head Chef, Rabinder Singh, has been running Masti’s kitchen since 2004. Classically trained within the prestigious kitchens of Taj and Ashoka in India, Singh not only brings his wealth of culinary knowledge to the Wembley restaurant, but he also brings his passion for delivering traditional and regional Indian dishes to diners.

“When diners come to Masti London, they’re looking for an authentic Indian experience,” he tells us. “We take every detail seriously. For instance, we use Dum Pukht, which is a special cooking technique with a heavy pot (Haandi) and dough cover to ensure each dish is full bodied and rich in flavour.”

Singh says such attention to detail makes all the difference to customers, which is why he focuses on providing extensive training for his team of chefs.

“As a third of Indian restaurants close, we’re working hard to ensure people can still enjoy tasty, authentic Indian cuisine at Masti,” he says. “We’ve got an excellent training programme that draws in and develops highly talented and passionate chefs – and it shows in the dishes we create, such as our signature Karahi.”

It can take up to five years to train as a curry chef, which is why the smaller and newer establishments may struggle.

Last year, restaurant owners from all around the UK submitted a warning to the Government that up to 90% of curry houses could fail under the ‘chef skills shortage’. For an industry worth £4 billion, this is a serious issue, and the onus will be on culinary and business education as people look to the market leaders for guidance.

¹ Telegraph, 2015