‘Northern Curry House’ worth an estimated £1bn according to World Curry Festival organisers

Main course is served at the World Curry Festival's seventh annual gala dinner at Bradford Cathedral

Main course is served at the World Curry Festival’s seventh annual gala dinner at Bradford Cathedral

The curry industry in the UK is worth an estimated £4billion and employs over 100,000 people nationwide. According to the organisers of the World Curry Festival – a quarter of this can be attributed to businesses in the north of England, or the so called ‘Northern Curry House’. Bradford alone makes up a large proportion of the sector with a supply chain valued at over £500m.

“We estimate the ‘Northern Curry House’ to be worth around £1billion. The ethnic food sector in the north of England has been growing for the last decade, with some of the largest Asian restaurants in the UK based in Bradford,” says Zulfi Karim, Founder of the World Curry Festival.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: ‘Yorkshire is well known for its vast array of wonderful cuisine and one of the foods that has definitely helped put Yorkshire on the culinary map is curry. The World Curry Festival is fantastic for tourism, attracting more than 50 thousand visitors from as far and wide as Malaysia, Pakistan and India as well as around 100 international including chefs, exhibitors and business leaders.’

Restaurant chains such as Akbars, Aagrah, Jinnah, My Lahore and EastZEast are just a few of the success stories. A great deal of their achievement is due to the nation’s growing appetite for world foods, especially among the younger generations. While the demand for Asian style ready meals within supermarkets has fuelled the growth of brands such as Mumtaz.

And to celebrate this success, the World Curry Festival has partnered with Welcome to Yorkshire to create a fantastic Spice Trail to inspire people to try something new or perhaps be reminded of a dining gem. It recommends some of the best places in Yorkshire to get your spice fix. Widely referred to as the spiciest county in the UK, Yorkshire is home to thousands of delicious and exciting options, from the modern to the traditional, with every level of spice you can hope for, Yorkshire can cater for you. From Hyderabad to Halifax, Bangkok to Bradford and Pahang to Pateley Bridge the trail gives a flavour of all that’s spicy.

Bradford has been leading the way for the Asian food sector for over 50 years, and in Zulfi’s eyes is well placed to become the main hub for catering to the needs of this growing market. He believes the city has the opportunity to lead the sector in both food production and manufacturing, as well skills and training.

After all, as well as a thriving trade in Asian restaurants, Bradford is home to some of the largest wholesalers and manufactures of spices, herbs and lentils that supply the curry industry and supermarkets. The city is also a key distribution hub for the growing market of halal food products and services – a market which is fast growing and worth over US$1trillion globally.

The Grand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi – perhaps the most famous curry chef in the world, and a World Curry Festival ambassador, refers to Bradford as “the city with the best curry houses this side of Mumbai”.

“Bradford has recently been shortlisted for the Great Northern Exhibition 2018. It would be a fantastic opportunity to showcase not just Bradford but the great ‘Northern Curry House,” adds Zulfi.

The seventh annual World Curry Festival is taking place in Bradford and Leeds from 15-29 September 2016.