Ex-student flies the curry flag for Northampton in bid to win 'pinnacle of any chef's career'

A former Northampton College catering student will have the chance to represent the town in the Houses of Parliament having been put forward to defend Saffron's crown in the 2017 Tiffin Cup.

Monday, 24th April 2017, 4:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:57 pm
Saffron owner Naz Islam with Mohammad and Northampton College principal Pat Brennan-Barrett

Mohammad Shajahan, aged 22, was taken on as an apprentice by the award-winning Castilian Street restaurant three years ago. He has gone on to work alongside executive chef Bodrul Islam and will now look to emulate his mentor’s success in the annual parliamentary search to find the nation’s best South Asian cuisine.

Saffron was named the winner of last year’s competition, with Mr Islam’s dish of lime and ginger sea bass earning widespread acclaim from expert judges including TV chef Ainsley Harriott.

Saffron will look to defend its crown with Mr Shajahan given the responsibility to come up with a new dish for the cook-off in Westminster.

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He said: “Having the chance to defend Saffron’s title is a huge honour. The Tiffin Cup is arguably the pinnacle of any curry chef’s career and I have been given the responsibility after just three years in the trade.

“I’m very grateful for Saffron for putting their faith in me and I hope I can do the restaurant justice. I have learnt so much in the last three years and I will be working hard to put the skills I have picked up both at Northampton College and in the kitchen at Saffron into practice on the biggest possible stage.”

The Tiffin Cup is awarded every year by the Tiffin Club of MPs, formed in 2006.

The aim is not only to applaud the quality of South Asian food in Britain but also to raise much-needed money for charity.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: “I’m delighted to see Mohammad doing so well in his chosen career and to have this opportunity so soon after leaving us is a huge testimony to both his hard work and the quality of teaching here at the college.”

Last year’s triumph was the first time a Northampton restaurant had ever won the competition.

The Grand Final of this year’s Tiffin Cup will be held in the House of Commons in July.