This year Bradford Curry Awards has done the unthinkable, we present to you for the first time in history an all-female judging panel.
Introducing Parveen Ashraf, the sensational culinary dynamo known as “Parveen The Spice Queen”!
This captivating TV chef, celebrated author of two exquisite cookbooks, and devoted cookery teacher is an unwavering champion of the vibrant world of Desi home cooking. Now living in London, but born and raised in our illustrious city of Bradford, she carries her Northern heritage with immense pride. A true luminary in the realm of South Asian cuisine, Parveen possesses an unrivalled passion for flavours that will leave you spellbound. With a wealth of expertise accumulated from her days as an Ofsted inspector, she fearlessly wields her knowledge and expertise to create masterpieces that transcend the boundaries of taste.
But Parveen’s talents extend far beyond the confines of the kitchen. As the revered head judge of last year’s Leicester Curry Awards, she fearlessly delivers her verdict, leaving contestants and spectators alike in awe of her discerning palate and unwavering standards. This year, Bradford Curry Awards are thrilled to have her on our panel, ready to unleash her formidable judgment once again. For Parveen, feedback is not a foe but a cherished friend, an invaluable tool that guides her culinary prowess to even greater heights.
Beyond her culinary prowess, Parveen’s charismatic presence and captivating personality have earned her a legion of devoted fans. Her contagious enthusiasm and vibrant spirit make every interaction an unforgettable experience.
Sarah Woods is another unstoppable force of culinary talent. This powerhouse emerged as a finalist on the electrifying BBC1’s Best Home Cook 2020, captivating audiences with her awe-inspiring skills. Since the show aired, Sarah fearlessly bid farewell to her corporate job, embarking on an exhilarating journey to pursue her true passion—food and feeding souls.
Leaving no stone unturned in her quest for culinary excellence, Sarah honed her exceptional cooking skills at the prestigious Ashburton Chef’s Academy in the breath-taking landscapes of Devon. Armed with a wealth of knowledge and an insatiable appetite for exploration, she took the plunge into the tantalising world of flavours.
Nestled in the heart of Cheshire, Sarah is a visionary host of unforgettable supper clubs and mesmerizing restaurant pop-ups that leave taste buds tingling and hearts singing. As a captivating educator at a renowned cookery school, she fearlessly imparts her wisdom to aspiring chefs, igniting their culinary passions and guiding them towards greatness.
Sarah’s culinary creations are a harmonious fusion of her vibrant Punjabi heritage and her upbringing in the vibrant tapestry of British culture. Hailing from the enchanting landscapes of the West Midlands, she draws inspiration from her diverse roots, infusing her dishes with a magical blend of traditions and innovation. Her debut cookbook, the extraordinary Desi Kitchen, published by the esteemed Penguin Michael Joseph in February 2023, is an exploration of the intricate connection between food, culture, history, and identity. With each page turned, you’ll embark on a mouthwatering journey that captures the essence of delectable alchemy—blending diverse cultures while harnessing the power of seasonal produce. Delve into the rich tapestry of Sarah’s culinary prowess as she imparts classic South Asian cookery techniques, unveiling the secrets to creating extraordinary flavour sensations
From the kitchens of prestigious competitions to the captivating pages of her debut cookbook and the potential of an enthralling docuseries, Sarah’s extraordinary journey is just beginning, and the world eagerly awaits each mouth-watering chapter
Cllr Naheed Mather
Meet the remarkable culinary connoisseur, whose expertise goes far beyond the realm of gastronomy. Our final food judge is a passionate advocate for social change, whose multifaceted journey is as captivating as the flavours she encounters.
As a Labour Councillor and Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, she combines her love for food with a deep-rooted commitment to creating a more equitable society. A true socialist, environmentalist, and humanitarian, she tirelessly works across the public, private, voluntary, and community sectors, weaving together a tapestry of diverse experiences and invaluable insights.
With an illustrious academic background spanning over two decades, she has lectured in Social Policy, Criminology, and Youth & Community Development on both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Her academic prowess enhances her understanding of the intricate relationship between food and social dynamics, allowing her to discern not only the flavours on the plate but also the stories and struggles behind each dish.
This remarkable individual, a trailblazer in her own right, proudly embraces her British Asian heritage, embodying a series of remarkable “Firsts” that have shaped her journey. From being the first in her family to receive a university education to working in local and national government, collaborating on transformative TWIST programs across Europe, serving as a Magistrate, and being honoured with an MBE for her outstanding services to Housing & Community, she blazes trails wherever she goes. Additionally, she has successfully run her own business, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations.
But beyond her professional achievements, she is a loving daughter, devoted mother, and cherished wife. Having provided end-of-life care for her father and now caring for her mother, she understands the importance of nurturing relationships and cherishing the bonds that connect us all.
While she enjoys the wonders of travel, the power of literature, and the richness of life’s tapestry, it is food that holds a special place in her heart. Acting as a golden thread throughout her life, food has not only brought family and friends together but also preserved and celebrated the culinary heritage that courses through her veins.
Culture, and social consciousness certainly intertwine, as this extraordinary food judge brings her unique perspective to the table, she not only evaluates flavours but also uncovers the stories and struggles that shape our culinary landscape. With every dish, she illuminates the transformative power of food and invites us all to savour the richness of life.
Adjudicator – Cllr Masood Ahmed
Joining our three female judges this year was former Mayor of Kirklees, Councillor Masood Ahmed.
Mr Ahmed had the tough task of providing assistance to the judges and ensuring the rules of the competition were adhered to.
Mr Ahmed has represented Dewsbury South for Labour for 16 years and currently sits on the Kirklees Council Cabinet for Environment
Former Mayor of Kirklees and distinguished figure, Councillor Masood Ahmed took on the challenging role of an adjudicator this year. Standing tall among our esteemed panel of three exceptional female judges, Mr. Ahmed brings a wealth of expertise and a resolute commitment to ensuring a fair and riveting competition.
With his unwavering dedication to upholding the integrity of the contest, Mr. Ahmed shoulders the weighty responsibility of providing invaluable assistance to the judges while safeguarding the adherence to the rules that make this event so electrifying. His astute eye for detail and unwavering commitment to fairness ensure that every contestant has an equal opportunity to shine.
Having fearlessly represented Dewsbury South for the Labour party over the past 16 years, Mr. Ahmed’s deep-rooted connection to the community has earned him the utmost respect and admiration. Currently serving on the Kirklees Council Cabinet for Environment, he tirelessly champions initiatives that protect our natural surroundings and foster sustainability, weaving together his passion for both culinary excellence and a greener future.
Mr Ahmed was also a judge for the Bradford Curry Awards in 2019
His presence guarantees a fair and thrilling competition, where the finest flavours are celebrated, and culinary champions are crowned.