Monday 27 Feb 2017
ICYMI, last night was the night for award ceremonies.
There was something going on over in the states but there was only one ceremony that anyone actually cared about.
And that, of course, was the fifth British Kebab Awards. (It was actually trending above the Oscars in this country so, technically true).
Hosted by BBC 1 presenters Scott Mills and Chris Stark, it brought the great and the good of the shish and doner world together – along with a load of rowdy journos – to celebrate one of the world’s greatest culinary inventions.
It has to be said, our team was absolutely buzzing to be there. The glamour! The excitement! The food!
The awards were founded back in 2012 by Ibrahim Dogus, as a way of raising standards in the industry.
Ibrahim, who owns a restaurant himself, claims that kebabs are ‘the most popular dish in the country’ – hence the rapid growth and success of his annual star-studded meat extravaganza.
His favourite kind of kebab is a lamb neck shish.
‘I love real food – grilled on charcoal. I love doner kebab too but lamb shish is my favourite.’ And apparently, that’s his buddy Sadiq Kahn’s favourite too.
So how do the awards get dished out?
It’s all about points. Each hygiene star a business has won from the Food standard Agency rating is worth 50 points. If you’re nominated by your local politician, that’s another load of points. The kebaberies (is that a word?) with the most number of points get shortlisted – and then it’s up to the judges. Here were some of the evening’s highlights:
Snapchat had a filter prepared especially for the occasion
Which is good because this was an important event.
I turned up in an ill-fitting dress specifically to allow for a significant food baby later in the evening. After all, what would a food awards ceremony be without a feast of bacchanalian proportions?
Anyway, we got there and got straight to work asking the questions the public needed answering.
MPs love kebabs, fact
Tory MP for Bath, Ben Howlett, was as passionate and definite about his local kebab van as a man could be.
He also was completely correct in his assertion that chicken shish was the best kind of kebab.
And then he went and ruined everything with his trash sauce choices.
Don’t get me wrong, garlic sauce is nice but only a vanilla monster would choose it above chilli. At best, you want a combo going on. Failing that, you have to choose spice above cream.
Which, it turned out, is not an opinion shared by our readers – 47% of which have already voted for garlic sauce in our all-important poll:
Each table was laden down with boxes of Bira – a new beer specifically designed to be drunk with kebabs. And by all accounts, it was delicious and very moreish (if the blokes behind us were anything to go by).
2017 is supposed to be the year of representation. Of multiculturalism. Of women. Of everyone.
So why then were literally no women on this year’s British Kebab Awards judging panel?
It wouldn’t even be as bad if you had to be a kebab kingpin to get chosen. But the judges were actually all just MPs and random businessmen. Were there no successful, female kebab fans out there who’d have been fit for the job? Outrageous.
The lack of food
Let’s be perfectly honest here. 99% of us who weren’t up for an award were there to eat a kebab. Who in their right mind would schlep into London on a rainy Sunday night unless there was a load of free meat up for scoffing?
As the awards ceremony got underway, we were treated to starters of cold meze. There was your usual hummus, tzatziki, tomato-based stews and bread but the crowd were obviously waiting with baited breath for the main course.
As video after video of kebabs was screened and restaurant after kitchen after kebab van was crowned victorious, we drooled into our empty plates.
And we waited.
In fact, there was a two hour period between the starter and main. And us journalists just couldn’t handle it.
We considered drinking kebab sauce…
I almost fell into a kebab-less coma…
All that free booze on an empty stomach led to political correspondents threatening other publications
I’m on 42 and I don’t think we’d do v well but I reckon we could take the New Statesman table next to us easily— Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian) February 26, 2017
Never again will I leave my house without a bag of snackettes at the ready.
In other words, technical disaster
Like the Oscars, there was some confusion about who’d won what – primarily down to the fact that there are a lot of kebab houses that have similar names.
And there were technical difficulties. Those mainly revolved around the fact that the dude supposedly in charge of video and sound had fallen asleep.
No word of a lie.
That meant that Scott and Chris had no idea who’d won what.
And then when that was resolved, the microphones cut out.
It was just incredible.
No one knew who had won and no one cared.
By the end of the evening, delirium from lack of food had set in to such a degree that really anything could have happened and the crowd would have gone along with it.
But hey, at least they didn’t actually hand any awards over to a completely different kebab house like some award ceremonies we know.
Winners of the British Kebab Awards 2017
Just Eat Best Delivery: I am Doner (23 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3AA)
Galliard Homes Customer Satisfaction: Kosk (269 Hertford Road, Edmonton, N9 7ES)
Harlequin Best Newcomer Restaurant/ Takeaway in London: Tarshish (First Floor & Second Floor, 16-20 High Road, Wood Green, London, N22 6BX)
Crucials Best Newcomer Restaurant/ Takeaway outside London: Elder and Wolf (171 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, NE26 2DN)
Best Kebab House in Northern Ireland: Sphinx Glengormley (335 Antrim Rd, Glengormley, Newtownabbey, BT36 5DZ)
Best Kebab House in Wales: Mezza Luna (159 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3BQ)
Best Kebab House in Scotland: Alla Turca (192 Pitt Street, Glasgow, G2 4DY)
Best Kebab House Regional: Meze Mangal Bushey Heath (81 High Road Bushey, Watford, WD23 1EL)
Big K Best Takeaway Regional: Ellesmere Port Kebab House (4 The Arcade Regent Street, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 8DX)
Alton & Co Best Kebab Restaurant in North and West London: Gokyuzu (26-27 Grand Parade Green Lanes, Haringey, London, N4 1LG)
Best Kebab Restaurant in South and East London: Meze Bexleyheath (269 Broadway, Bexleyheath, DA6 8DB)
Bira London Best Takeaway in London: Pizza King Kebab House (109 Hertford Rd, Edmonton, London, N9 7EE)
Best Value: The Iskele, (179-181 Whitecross St, London, EC1Y 8QP)
Chef of the Year: Mazlum Demir (Skewd Kitchen), (12 Cockfosters Parade, Barnet, EN4 0BX)
Cobra Beer Fine Dining Restaurant: Veyso’s (Hertford, 97 Fore Street Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG14 1AS)
Kebab Van of the Year: Atalay Kebab Van (North St, Oxfordshire, OX9 3HH)
Outstanding Contribution: Prime Quality Foods (Unit 1, Centenary Estate, Centenary Road, Enfield, EN3 7UD)