Bringing the Aagrah from Chakswari to Ilkley Moor
FROM PAKISTAN TO ILKLEY MOOR
The speaker at Ilkley Business Forum’s meeting on Wednesday, 14th January 2015, will be Mohammed Aslam, MBE, the managing director of the Aagrah Group of Restaurants. He will describe his progression from his arrival in England from Pakistan as a young man to his present position running one of the most successful chains of Indian restaurants in England, including the branch in Ilkley.
In 1981 Mohammed started taking an active part in the Aagrah Restaurant started by his elder brother Mohammed Sabir in Shipley. Since then the family has grown the firm so that there are now 13 restaurants in Yorkshire and the firm is still expanding further afield. His personal skills as a chef have also expanded. He started cooking for himself , then in the kitchen at the restaurant and developed his expertise so that he was named Best Ethnic Chef by the Craft Guild of Chefs in 2009. He was awarded the MBE for his services to the hospitality industry in 2010 and a Special Recognition accolade at The British Curry Awards 2013 was presented to him by David Cameron (see picture). The Aagrah trains all its chefs in house, but supports training and high standards elsewhere through initiatives such as setting up the UK Asian Chef of the Year competition and becoming chief patron of Bradford College’s International Food and Travel Studio School. Mohammed estimates that the Aagrah Group has trained a thousand people who are now successful entrepreneurs. He was made an Honorary Fellow of Bradford College in December 2013.
Steve Butler, the Chairman of Ilkley Business Forum, has known Mohammed for many years. “I am delighted that he has accepted an invitation to speak and I am very much looking forward to hearing his recipe for success. Not for nothing was the Ilkley Aagrah named as a finalist in the 2014 British Curry Awards, where another Aagrah restaurant, the Aagrah Midpoint, won the Best Spice Restaurant in the North East award.” The meeting will run from 5.45 to 7.45pm at the Clarke Foley Centre, Cunliffe Road, Ilkley LS29 9DZ. There will also be a couple of short presentations by some members. “Ilkley Business Forum meetings are open to all comers. The first meeting a non-member attends is always free of charge,” said Mr Butler, “and Mr Aslam will clearly be such an interesting speaker that everyone is welcome to attend.” Tea, coffee, cake and biscuits are provided free of charge by the Clarke Foley staff and wine will be available to buy for those who want it.