Eric Pickles ‘curry colleges’ and the secret of chopping onions

Curry colleges

Cyrus Todiwala held out his large hands and turned them, to show a yellowish tinge on his palms. Since 7am, he had been chopping onions, in preparation for a banquet for 400 people. Todiwala is one of Britain’s leading Asian chefs, chef patron of the celebrated Cafe Spice Namaste in east London, a consultant for Tesco and a regular on TV cookery shows including Saturday Kitchen. Surely he has someone who could chop his onions for him? “Ah” – a smile – “but I want them chopped in a particular way.”

“Let me tell you,” interrupted his friend Enam Ali, owner of Le Raj in Epsom, Surrey, and the driving force behind the British Curry Awards, “chopping onions is a skill. “If you turn the onion this way, it will colour differently than if you turn it in that way. It makes a difference to how you cook them. People don’t really know that.”

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