The team at Rajastan Royal

A take-away in Bristol which has delivered free meals to key workers and homeless people during lockdown has won a national award for its achievements in the industry.

Rajastan Royal in Downend has been named ‘Takeaway of the Year’ in the South West region in the 10th annual Asian Curry Awards.

The awards, which also recognised those who worked hard to help their local community during Covid-19, celebrates innovative vision and exceptional food.

Naseem Talukdar, who heads the takeaway in Westbourne Road, said: “This is a proud moment for our team and our customers, who voted for us.

“We have worked hard over the Covid-19 period and it’s great to get such recognition.”

Community support

Organised by the Asian Catering Federation, the awards cover a range of national cuisines, including Chinese, Bangladeshi, Indian, Thai and Middle Eastern.

Hundreds across the country took part and the winners were announced during a live online ceremony, which was hosted by BBC TV presenter Samantha Simmonds.

Fishponds resident Naseem, a project manager for charity Plastic Pollution Awareness and Action Projects which looks at alternatives to single-use plastic in the food industry, said the award was good for morale.

Naseem, who has received a High Sheriff’s Award from the Lord-Lieutenant Bristol, in recognition of his contribution to the city, said: “It’s a great boost to confidence to receive such an award and we couldn’t have done it without the support of people in our community.

“We’ve received lots of positive messages, both in person and online. This event is an opportunity to see what others are doing in the industry and keep on improving our work.”

Free food for frontline workers and homeless people

Naseem, whose own parents ran Indian restaurant Rupali, in Kingswood, led the Food 4 NHS Project.

The project, which was set up alongside campaign group UK Curry Connect- to raise awareness of skills shortages in the Asian catering, involved teams from takeaways and restaurants across Bristol

Together they delivered thousands of hot meals to frontline workers, who were working long shifts.

Naseem also campaigns for greater support for homeless people, as deaths rise for a fifth year in a row according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Naseem, who has organised the provision of hot meals and essentials for people on the street, said: “Homelessness could happen to anyone and we are doing are bit to provide essentials, but more needs to be done – particularly during these difficult times.”

Land of the Kings

Chairman of the Asian Curry Awards Yawar Khan, who is keen to recognise great food and how recent measures are affecting the hospitality industry, said: “The team at Rajastan were deserving winners as they have given back to their community over the years and have upped this support since the coronavirus outbreak. In turn, their community showed their appreciation and voted for them to win this award.”

Rajastan means ‘Land of the Kings’ in Sanskrit and the arid state gave rise to creative dishes – with an array of vibrant spices.

The team at Rajastan Royal bring a taste of the East inspired from various regions across the Indian subcontinent.