Loanhead restaurant’s head chef picks up national prize

Ashok Ram, who has won Curry Chef of The Year at The Scottish Curry Awards. He cooks at The Radhuni in Loanhead.
Ashok Ram, who has won Curry Chef of The Year at The Scottish Curry Awards. He cooks at The Radhuni in Loanhead.

A Nepali from Loanhead has been voted Scotland’s Curry Chef of the Year, following in the footsteps of his mentor who previously won the title.

Ashok Ram (53), who commands the kitchen at the 120 cover Indian-Bangladeshi Radhuni restaurant in Loanhead’s Clerk Street, took the title at the Scottish Curry Awards the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow last week.

Ashok, who was named UK Bangladeshi Chef of the Year in 2012, was trained by Matin Khan, chief executive and executive head chef of Radhuni and its sister restaurant Itihaas in nearby Dalkeith,

By picking up the Chef of the Year title, Ashok is following in the footsteps of his mentor Matin, who was voted Curry Chef of the Year in Scotland in 2014.

“Cooking can be described as a work of art where spices and flavours are a form of expression,” Ashok said.

“I’m delighted that the work of myself and the Radhuni team has been recognised. We try to make each dish a unique experience for the customer.”

Radhuni, whose name means ‘passionate cook’ in Bengali, opened in 2011 as Loanhead’s first Indian-style restaurant.

Matin’s son Habibur, who manages Radhuni, is proud of his head chef.

He said: “Ashok’s success in being named Scotland’s top curry chef is an honour for the restaurant and a tribute to the loyalty and dedication of the entire team.

“Indian and Bangladeshi food continues to evolve.

“Ashok and his colleagues have adapted to trends and kept learning more about spices and modern styles of cooking while using only the best and most authentic ingredients.”

Habibur added that the success had been achieved despite tough UK immigration laws, which make it difficult for restaurants to obtain entry visas for chefs from the Indian sub-continent.

He said: “At Radhuni and Itihaas we’re unusual in having managed to keep our team intact but around the UK many restaurants are closing or reducing the number of days they open.”

Radhuni and Itihaas were also shortlisted for the Best Restaurant in the Edinburgh area and South East Scotland awards respectively.