February 2, 2023

‘I’ve been working so hard to achieve this goal’
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A beloved Indian restaurant in Essex has been nominated for a prestigious award – the results of which will be revealed at a glitzy London ceremony next month. Sazzad Ullah opened restaurant Cinnamon in North Weald almost 15 years ago in 2007 and says he is "deeply honoured" for it to be considered for the Asian Restaurant and Takeaway Awards (ARTA) this year.
Known to everyone as Shaz, the owner and manager admits he is a total food lover and has spent his whole life working in the industry, making it his dream to be nominated for 'Restaurant of the Year – Essex'. He loves the customer relations part of his job and serving people authentic Indian food, the recipes for which are devised between him and his chef.
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"I love being with customers and talking to them," he said. "I am really a lover of food and I love serving people with different food all the time and always trying to make it better and healthier. I always like to be the best at what I'm doing and always trying to be better than everybody else."
Shaz says his restaurant has something for everyone to enjoy, no matter their taste when it comes to spice or flavour. He has dishes totally unique to Cinnamon and takes great pride in introducing people to new food.
Shaz added: "It would really mean a lot to win this. All this hard work we've done will pay off the last 15 years. I've been working so hard to achieve this goal. I'll be very deeply, deeply honoured if I win this award."
The Cinnamon team doesn't have to wait too long to find out if they've made it to the top or not, as results will be announced in early October. The red carpet event will be taking place at the InterContinental Hotel at the O2 London on Sunday, October 2. This year the ceremony will be hosted by BBC journalist Samantha Simmonds and magician Paul Martin. Categories include regional awards, national prizes, chefs, takeaways and restaurants.
Every award entry was nominated by restaurant goers and food lovers of over 700,000 customer base of ChefOnline – the digital application to order food and book tables on the go – to unveil the finalists. The UK’s Curry industry contributes £5 billion annually, which as of 2015 has accounted for a fifth of the restaurants in the UK dating back to the 1800's. Today there are more Indian restaurants in Greater London than in Delhi and Mumbai combined.
The ARTA awards are in celebration and recognition of Britain’s vibrant Asian restaurants and takeaways and offered solidarity and morale for the industry which is currently facing headwinds including with the high cost of energy, inflation, and the impact from the pandemic.
Mohammed Munim, founder member and CEO of ARTA, said: "Britain has some of the most vibrant and dynamic Asian restaurants, and they are an integral part of the fabric and culture of the country.
"The ARTA awards are a celebration and recognition of these exceptional restaurants, takeaways, chefs, and restaurateurs all across the country, who are serving their local communities so exceptionally well. Each nominee is a worthy winner, and we look forward to celebrating with them all at the award ceremony on October 2."
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