Thousands enjoy taste of Leeds World Curry Festival

Chef Barrington Douglas gives a cooking demonstration at the World Curry Festival in Leeds.
Chef Barrington Douglas gives a cooking demonstration at the World Curry Festival in Leeds.
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The World Curry Festival proved variety is the spice of life as it got under way in Leeds.

Thousands of people flocked to the event arena in Victoria Gardens on the Headrow for the first day of the culinary celebration.

And many of those were city centre office workers who fancied a red-hot alternative to standard midday fare such as soup or a sandwich.

Festival director Zulfi Karim said: “We have had a fantastic start with a real buzz to the atmosphere and everyone joining in the celebrations, from families, couples and people just popping in during their lunch hour for a curry in a hurry!

“We have already had thousands of people join us to see the chefs in action, have a go at making curries and, of course, tasting the delicious array of curries on offer.”

Twitter users were among the satisfied customers, with one called mylifeinleeds tweeting: “Get yourself down to the Headrow, the World Curry Festival is kicking off, good crowd and smells gorgeous!”

The festival runs until close of play tomorrow and entry to the arena is free, thanks to support from sponsor and Yorkshire supermarket giant Morrisons.

Yesterday’s special guests included Huddersfield-based Caribbean food expert Barrington Douglas.

Visitors were also able to tuck into specialities from the award-winning Zouk Tea Bar and Grill at a ‘pop up’ restaurant.

Chefs from the Royal Logistics Corps Territorial Army, meanwhile, were serving up their own curries in exchange for small donations to the Soldiers’ Charity.

The weekend’s attractions include Hemant Oberoi, who recently prepared a meal for US President Barack Obama during a visit to India.

A post-event banquet at the Queens Hotel hosted by broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli will take place on Monday.

Also held in Leeds, last year’s inaugural festival was organised to mark the 200th anniversary of curry’s arrival in Britain.

Sake Dean Mahomed began selling Indian-style dishes from his Hindoostane Coffee House in London in 1810.

For more information on the festival, visit:

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