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25 years ago everything was frozen?

General chat about British Indian Restaurant curries

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25 years ago everything was frozen?

Post by Mathias » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:57 am

I was quite suprised to read that according to a chef " twenty-five years ago, everything was frozen" or that "coriander was unheard of" . :confused:

https://scroll.in/magazine/857564/no-mo ... -dying-out

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Re: 25 years ago everything was frozen?

Post by ScotchBonnet » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:10 am

Not another "We can only get skilled chefs frome back home" article? All those chefs in Bangladesh trained to cook BIR style and no-one in the UK can be trained to do it. Nothing to do with cheap labour and exploitation. Most curry houses (and chip shops and any other food joints) that fail do so because of poor business management or poor food or poor hygeine or a combination of those factors. Good businesses with good food have been going for decades in many UK cities and I hope they continue to thrive and I will support them by eating in their establishments and getting TAs.

OK, tonight my family had Chinese and Chippy and not BIR but we are cosmopolitan in our excess fat and salt intake. One thing I do agree with in that article is that more women chefs would be a good thing but there are big cultural hurdles to overcome.
"There is no such thing as too much oil; just an insufficiency of naan".

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Re: 25 years ago everything was frozen?

Post by Greybeard » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:10 am

A lot has changed since the '70's and '80's - increased competition, more regulation, spiralling costs. I totally agree that the use of cheap labour and exploitation is not only more common than we realise, but criminal, and should be dealt with in strongest terms. The Border Agency has been clamping down a lot recently (quite a few of our TA's have had immigration raids over the past few years) and this is causing a lot of disruption across a number of sectors.

More enforcement has also been occurring on the food safety side, and if you don't have a food hygiene certificate and public liability insurance, you can end up in serious hot water. Along with increased building inspections, high business rates, the addition of VAT on certain foodstuffs and HMRC clamping down on "off the books" transactions, margins are tighter than ever. While it is encouraging that standards are being driven up, ultimately the cost gets passed onto the consumer.

I believe we heading towards a perfect storm in the food industry, with a lot of independent shops being driven out and major chains dominating. I don't think this is peculiar just to Indian TA's, but is across the board. We recently had KFC build a brand new restaurant on the outskirts of town, so what that will do to the competition is anyone's guess.

Some friends recently threw in the towel with their food business (burgers, pizzas etc.). They worked really hard at making it a success, and were really professional in their approach right down to portion control etc. But it is a very tough industry, being in the top 10 business failures. What I think is happening is a lot of independents that previously survived by cutting corners (e.g. salaries or cheap ingredients) have nowhere to turn now, especially with the increase in Internet supplies. The business model is moving from shop front to cheap premises on the local industrial estate with moped delivery.

I've lost count of the number of friends that have tried to talk me into opening a restaurant or catering business. Believe me, I am often sorely tempted. All I need do is look the figures on a spreadsheet to come back down to earth. That and the knowledge that both Ms and Mrs GB would kill me ...
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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