Bearsden curry chef among New Year award winners

Curry chef to the stars Raj '¨Bajwe of Bearsden is '¨celebrating after being served up an MBE by the Queen in the New Year's '¨Honours list.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 4:46 pm
Updated Friday, 11th January 2019, 4:53 pm

The Indian restaurateur has been given the award for services to hospitality and charity.

Kenya-born Raj (55) worked as general manager at Glasgow’s famous Café India curry house – serving a glittering array of celebrities including Billy Connolly, Michael Jackson, Sean Connery, Keanu Reeves, Mel 
Gibson and Elton John.

The proud dad-of-two said: “It is such a tremendous honour to receive this MBE and I’m calling it my ‘poppagong’ from the Queen.

“When the letter came through the door, tears came to my eyes.

“I moved to Scotland when I was four and have worked in Indian restaurants since I was 13 when Sultan Ansari gave me a start at the Shenaz in Glasgow.

“I cannot thank my sister Ranjip enough for nominating me. She told me I am a working class man who has done so much for charity and helping make Glasgow the curry capital of the UK.

“I’ve been lucky over the years to have served so many famous Hollywood stars but I’ve never met royalty so I can’t wait to meet the Queen to receive my MBE.”

Raj, from Bearsden, plans to take wife Kamaljeet (40), daughter Ruby (7) and one-year-old Aaron to accompany him when he is presented with his gong.

He said: “You can take three guests. I wish I could take my father Balbir along too, so I’ll need to find out if that is possible. He is very proud of what I’ve achieved.”

Other local recipients in the New Year Honours List include Iain McInnes, Professor of Medicine and director Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at Glasgow University.

The Bearsden man has received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to medicine, along with unviersity colleagues Ann Allen and Cathy Bell, who received MBEs.

Glasgow University tweeted: “Huge congrats to UofG colleagues Prof Iain McInnes CBE, Ann Allen MBE and Cathy Bell MBE for their well deserved recognition in the 2019 #NewYearsHonours list!”

Former Bearsden children’s author Julia Donaldson has received a CBE for services to literature and dedicated East Dunbartonshire Boys’ Brigade leader Lieutenant Alistair Whitelaw’s, the British Empire Medal for his 54 years’ service to 1st Lenzie BB group.