A ROYTON chef hopes to cook up a storm by walking off with a coveted prize at the 2018 British Kebab Awards.
Erhan Karakoc from Istanblue on Rochdale Road is one of 10, and the only Greater Manchester contender, in line to become ‘Chef of the Year’ at the sixth annual awards finals in London on Monday, March 12.
Four of Erhan’s rivals are based in London, including Mazlum Demir, the current title holder.
Another contender comes from Scotland and two others from the South East.
There have been a record number of entries for the 2018 competition, with kebab businesses in every corner of the UK battling for gongs in 16 categories from Best Kebab Van to Best Newcomer.
The public nominated 5,012 of their favourite kebab shops.
These were whittled down to a shortlist of 153 based on the number of public 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 will be announced after a final round of judging by the British Kebab Awards judges.
The star line-up inclues 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.
Over 1,200 guests including more than 110 MPs and Lords are expected to attend the British Kebab Awards VIP-studded ceremony in the ballroom of the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel.
They will be treated to a cocktail reception, three-course Anatolian-style meal and Bira, the first beer in the world to be brewed especially for kebabs.
#BritishKebabAwards founder Ibrahim Dogus said: “Kebab is fast becoming the nation’s favourite food so it is only right that the superheroes behind this phenomenon are recognised.
“This, the sixth year of the competition, is the toughest. Every British Kebab Award finalist should be congratulated for making it through in our most hotly contested year yet.
“Many MPs and councillors got behind kebab shops and restaurants in their constituencies by nominating them.
“I look forward to seeing some new faces coming through and claiming a seat at the industry’s top table.”
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 and supporting around 200,000 jobs across restaurants, suppliers and the food industry.
This year’s awards will raise money for the bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK.
Every day, more than 1.3m kebabs are sold across Britain.
The UK’s first kebab shop, Istanbul Restaurant in Soho, opened during the Second World War and pictures of it feature in the Imperial War Museum.
However, it was not until 1966 that the famous doner kebab, which is cooked on a vertical spit, first appeared with the opening of the Hodja Nasreddin Kebab House by Çetin Bukey and Kojay Hüsey in 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.
There are also around 200 doner kebab manufacturers in the UK, with a turnover over £750million.