Testing final for Bury St Edmunds chef

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An award-winning Bury St Edmunds chef has been named runner-up in this year’s prestigious Master Chef Promotions Awards.

Public nominations and votes secured Abdus Shahid, co-owner of Indian restaurant Valley Connection (VC), a place in the final round of the competition, and then it was down to him to prepare for a live ‘cook off’ against the country’s top chefs.

Choosing what to cook was easy – he picked the dishes that proved most popular in last year’s Taste of Britain Curry Festival, held in Hyderabad, India, which saw him serve 11,000 customers in 10 days.

The challenge, though, was producing his signature salmon tikka starter and VC lamb achari main with saffron rice in the allotted 60 minutes, while also answering in-depth questions from the competition judges.

The father-of-three, who is originally from Bangladesh, said: “I finished five minutes before my time was up. I had to do all the preparation and cooking in that so it was very difficult, especially because lamb takes time to cook. When I finished I was relieved.”

Abdus – who has been cooking for 30 years, having started at the age of 17 – was named Master Chef’s South East runner-up during an awards night at the New Bingley Hall in Birmingham on January 25.

The night’s glitz and glamour included a red carpet entry and a five-course gourmet meal, as well as entertainment by the internationally renowned Bollywood dance company Bolly Flex.

Abdus, who also owns Bury Indian take-away restaurant Moza and Ballingdon Valley Indian Cuisine in Sudbury, said he would have liked to have won but had enjoyed the experience all the same.

“I learned so many ideas from the other chefs,” he said.

Abdus, who was named Curry Life’s ‘chef of the year 2013’, said heloves being in competitions and already had his heart set on entering this year’s Asian Curry Awards.

VC, in Churchgate Street, Bury, underwent a £90,000 refurbishment towards the end of last year.

To find out more, or to book a table, visit www.valley-connection.com or call 01284 753161.