Karim Rezaul has been awarded the ”Special recognition award” by the British curry awards in London for his knowledge and development of the Indian kitchen. He is the only non British person to have been awarded this! He actually won his first British Curry Award in 2010, ”Curry life award of excellence” , at that time it was for his spice mixtures. In Sweden he has been awarded with the Golden Dragon award twice!
Karim moved to Sweden from Bangladeshwhen ha was 19 years old. He worked hard at several different positions at restaurants in Stockholm, and when he had saved up enough money he started up his first restaurant. Toady he is running six restaurants in Stockholm. I asked Karim some questions during a nice lunch with him:
Where did you study to become a chef?
-I used to cook with my mother after school, and she thought me how to mix spices.
Why did you wan’t to become a chef?
-I just love to cook good food, and I opened up my first restaurant because food is such a big part of my life.
Could you tell me a little more about yourself?
-I have worked really hard to get to where I am today. When I first moved to Sweden I missed my mother’s food so much. I was so happy when I could open up my first restaurant in 2002.
The biggest moment during your career?
-When I got a call from the Golden Dragon in 2004, but I was sure it was someone just joking with me! But then I had a letter about the ceremony, and they called me and told me that I have to come to the event because I could win. I wen’t there, and I won my first Golden Dragon! The next day when I turned up at the restaurant at 9.30 in the morning, there were already people outside the restaurant. I thought it was the Health authority. But it was people queueing up for lunch! The restaurant was totally packed that day, and we had to little food so we decided to only serve 6 different dishes. Since that day my life has been changed!I worked hard and succeeded!!
What does it mean for you to have won the ”Special recognition award?
-People come from all over the world to eat at my restaurant, So that makes me really proud!
So your mother inspired you, is there any dish that tastes like your mother’s food?
-The Cummon chicken is inspired ny her, but I have changed the recipe a bit.
What food do you miss from India?
-My mothers fish, and some of her Chicken dishes.
What is the best with your profession?
-I love to share my food with others! To cook and see that other people like it makes me really happy!
The best Indian restaurants in London?
-Tamarind, Cinnamon club and Mumtaz.
Is there any Indian chef that you look up too?
-Atul Kochhar, he was the first Indian chef to get awarded with a Michelin star.
What is a must in the kitchen for you?
-Turmeric, coriander, ginger, chili and Garlic. And they have to be fresh!G
What inspires you?
-My guests! When they say WOW makes me really happy!I am so happy when people choose to eat at my restaurants!
Your favourite food?
-A Swedish Wallenbergare at Satsjö Pir or restaurant Himmelen. (ground veal, cream, egg yolks and coated in breadcrumbs that is served with boiled or mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and green peas.)
Any new dream?
-To give out a Cook Book, and to be able to teach people how to cook Indian food at the restaurant.
Interview and photo Malin Nordblom
The interview was first published at http://www.gourmet.se in Swedish.