The Indian Ocean restaurant in Theydon Bois scoops national award after being nominated by Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing
The Indian Ocean restaurant in Theydon Bois has been named the best South Asian restaurant in the country after winning the Tiffin Cup 2012.
The grand final of the annual competition took place at Bellamy’s restaurant in the Houses of Parliament with a competitive cook-off by the 12 finalists from across the country.
The Indian Ocean, nominated by Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing - prepared their signature dish – Bengal King Prawns - which received top marks from the judging panel.
The winners were announced by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, who also presented the finalists with their Tiffin Cup chef’s hats and jackets.
The competition, in its seventh year, is organised by the Tiffin Club of MPs who invited their colleagues to nominate the best restaurants from their constituencies.
This year the competition received a record 89 nominations.
The judging panel was made up of a number of special guests including celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott and restaurant owner Sanjay Anand MBE, who marked each contestant’s specialties.
All proceeds from the event went to the charity World Vision.
Mrs Laing, who attended a celebratory event at the restaurant on Sunday (November 18), said: "We are very fortunate to have so many good restaurants in Epping Forest and particularly the brilliant Indian Ocean in Theydon Bois.
"In previous years I have nominated other local restaurants for the Tiffin Cup so I was really delighted when I heard that the Indian Ocean had made it to the final.
"The event at the House of Commons was exciting with so many good chefs taking part. I was very proud of the Indian Ocean. It is a great victory to be judged as best in the whole country.
“Today's party was great fun. It is good to see so many local people celebrating our great local place."
Jamal, from the winning Indian Ocean restaurant, said: “Being named the best South Asian restaurant in the country is the best recognition anyone in this industry could aspire to.
”The fact that we were judged by chefs with such reputation makes the award even more important to us.
”We pride ourselves in good quality and authentic food and we hope to maintain these high standards.”
Tiffin Club chaiman Keith Vaz MP said: “Curry has joined roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips as one of Britain’s best loved dishes.
”We are delighted The Indian Ocean restaurant has been crowned the Tiffin Cup 2012 champions. It is testament to their expertise in the kitchen and skill of their chef.
“This competition just keeps getting busier and better and is becoming recognised in the industry as a standard-bearer for excellence in South Asian cooking.
”This competition does not just celebrate excellence in cooking; it is also an opportunity to mark the contribution that the South Asian community makes to the UK and to champion our vibrant, multi-cultural society.”