London: It is 200 years since the first
Indian restaurant was opened in Britain by a man from Bihar
and Britons across the country are celebrating the event with
a National Curry Week.
From the humble beginning in London in the form of
`The Hindostanee Coffee House` on George Street, Portman
Square, in 1809, the Indian food industry has grown into one
of Britain`s largest, employing over 100,000 people with a
turnover of millions.
It is said that today there is nary a village or
street in Britain that does not have an Indian restaurant.
Chicken Tikka Masala is considered Britain`s national
dish, while Britons continue to patronise the Indian food
industry despite recession.
National Curry Week was started in 1998 to promote
the cuisine and to raise funds for charities concentrating on
hunger, malnourishment and poverty.
During the week, curry lovers visit their local curry
houses, some of which stage special events and fun challenges.
The story goes that Sake Dean Mohamet, who was born
in 1759 in Patna, joined the East Indian Company and rose to
the rank of subedar.
He and his `best friend`, Captain Godfrey Baker, came
to Britain in 1784 and started a new life in Ireland.