Feature

How to avert a looming curry shortage

Ever since the U.K. colonized South Asia, the curry house has been as quintessentially British as the fish-and-chips shop, said Jonathan Guthrie in the London Financial Times. Spicy food, in fact, was the salvation of the British palate, which would other

 Jonathan GuthrieFinancial Times

Ever since the U.K. colonized South Asia, the curry house has been as quintessentially British as the fish-and-chips shop, said Jonathan Guthrie in the London Financial Times. Spicy food, in fact, was the salvation of the British palate, which would otherwise have atrophied on a diet of boiled beef and mushy peas. Yet now we are in danger of losing our curry. “Politics, commodity prices, and demographic change are threatening our patrimony of over 10,000 chicken tikka palaces.” The main culprit is a new immigration regime that effectively discriminates against Bangladeshis, who traditionally staff curry kitchens. When the system takes effect this November, “it will count for naught that a would-be immigrant can mix a mean masala.” Instead, he will need “fluent English and a high-level cooking certificate.” The government is telling restaurateurs to hire Eastern Europeans instead of South Asians. Poles and Romanians, though, specialize in dumplings and cabbage, not chapatis and lemon pickle. There’s just one solution: “Chefs who are handy with the cardomom” must be granted a waiver of the new immigration rules. It would be a sad day for England if the tandoor oven went cold. 

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