A ROYTON chef failed to curry favour with the judges of the 2018 British Kebab Awards.
But Erhan Karakoc from Istanblue is still regarded as one of the top 10 cooks in the country despite missing out on the top two prizes.
Erhan was looking to serve up victory in the hotly-contested Chef of the Year category.
But in the battle for the title of ‘kofte king’ he lost out to Mazlum Demir who won for a second successive year for his work at Skewd Kitchen in North London.
Also highly commended was runner-up Bektas Avci from Merhaba in Cambridge.
Urban Spice in Longsight was the only Greater Manchester business to take home a prize – highly commended in the ‘Best Value Restaurant’ section.
But Erhan and other Oldham businesses could be in the running next year.
Interest has been so high over the last six years that the British Kebab Awards organisers will be launching the first National Kebab Week in February 11-17, 2019.
This year the public nominated 5,012 of their favourite kebab shops which were whittled down to 153 based on the number of votes received with bonus points for nominations from MPs and councillors.
Hygiene, online satisfaction ratings and the number of #BritishKebabAwards tweets of support that a contender got were also taken into account.
The winners were revealed after a final round of judging including former Tory chairwoman Baroness Warsi, Children’s and Families’ Minister Nadhim Zahawi, Shadow Economic Secretary Jonathan Reynolds, Amjad Bashir MEP and Heart Radio presenter Lucy Horobin, who co-hosted the event with Capital Radio newsreader Tim John.
Over 1,200 guests including more than 100 MPs and Lords attended the British Kebab Awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London.
British Kebab Awards founder, Ibrahim Dogus, said: “The kebab is on the march to be Britain’s national dish.
“Some of the kebabs being produced are incredible. This cuisine is coming of age in Britain, with interesting twists and, at its heart, good ingredients cooked well.
“British foodies are showing their appreciation for this ancient style of cooking and competition is getting extremely hot.”
The annual event is the only one to recognise the contribution made by the kebab industry to the British economy – worth more than £2.8billion a year.
This year’s awards raised money for the bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK.
The UK’s first kebab shop, Istanbul Restaurant in Soho, opened during the Second World War.
However, it was not until 1966 that the famous doner kebab – cooked on a vertical spit – appeared with the opening of the Hodja Nasreddin Kebab House by Çetin Bukey and Konjay Hüseyin in North London’s Newington Green.
There are now over 20,000 kebab outlets in the UK selling around 2,500 tonnes of lamb and chicken doner a week.