British Kebab Awards 2018: what to expect from the event

This article was first published on the iNews on 12 March 2018.

We’ve had the Golden Globes, the Baftas and the Oscars. Now it’s time for an upstart ceremony: the British Kebab Awards. The sixth annual installment of the competition will take place tonight in Westminster Park Plaza hotel in London, with grillers from across the UK arriving in hopes of bringing home a kebab rotisserie-shaped gong. What should we expect? Apart from lots of kebab chat, the event has gained a surprisingly high profile in recent years, well beyond November’s curry awards or the pie awards this month. The ringing endorsement of many of the country’s top politicians Kebabs are the people’s food, and where the people go, their elected representatives follow. It’s not just proud local MPs backing their high street’s shish merchant either: Jeremy Corbyn presented an award in 2016 despite sticking to falafel himself, and many cabinet ministers have lent their endorsements. Here’s a selection:

Theresa May, the Prime Minister

“The kebab industry is thriving, and its popularity is owed in no small part to the talented restaurateurs and chefs who are being nominated for and receiving awards this year.”

John McDonnell, shadow chancellor

“The kebab has become an essential ingredient in the British diet enjoyed immensely by so many of us”

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London

“I would like to congratulate the nominees and winners of the British Kebab awards. This ceremony is fast becoming one of the highlights of London’s calendar.”

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 

“Congratulations to all the nominees at this year’s 6th British Kebab Awards. This industry plays such an important role in creating jobs and generating economic growth. The community spirit at its core, which adds so much to our cultural landscape, is built on the hard work of the staff. ”

Angela Rayner, shadow Secretary of State for Education 

“The kebab industry is an integral part of modern British culture and the night time economy in almost all of our towns and cities.”

In addition, the judging panel is a cabinet of all the talents in its own right, including politicians Tracy Brabin, Jonathan Reynolds, Baroness Warsi, Nadhim Zadhawi and more. Heart-warming images of happy, hopeful kebab chefs The British Kebab Awards (or, sorry, the #britishkebabawards) have become a cult social media event in part because they’re so much fun to follow. Forget about the photogenic Instagram brunch: these are kebabs and the people who make them.

Apart from discussing grilled meats with both chili and garlic sauce, the Kebab Awards is a time at which focus is on an industry that employs a lot of immigrants whose political priorities might not make national news very often. In fact, founder Ibrahim Dogus even took to the Times to discuss the problems facing kebab shops and their owners and staff. “Top of their list of worries are skills shortages: almost a quarter of takeaways are unable to recruit the staff needed to run their business,” he wrote. “This is particularly acute for those cuisines requiring specialist chefs in curry and kebab houses, sushi and also fish frying. That’s why the British Takeaway Campaign, which is spearheaded by Just Eat and represents a diverse range of cuisines, is urging the government to ensure that the immigration system enables takeaways to recruit the staff they need from within the European Union and beyond.”

Superior kebabs

Of course, while taking part is important, the true meaning of the British Kebab Awards consists in celebrating the best kebabs.

We’ll have to wait until later for the winners, but the shortlist is below – and presumably contains some pretty good dinner options.

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