The good news for all lovers of high class Indian cuisine in South West Scotland is that celebrity TV chef Mafiz Ali is back at the Indian Restaurant in Minishant.
Formerly known as the Minishant Tandoori and India Gate, the restaurant is now called Ayr Spice, and is located five miles south of Ayr in a stylish redevelopment of the Old Minishant Memorial Church at the entrance to the picturesque village.
After an absence of two years, Mafiz Ali returns to the restaurant where in a relatively short time he built up an enviable reputation throughout Ayrshire and beyond for serving the finest Indian cuisine.
He is joined by his cousin and fellow chef Shahed Ahmed.
Mafiz Ali has many claims to fame over the past two decades.
In 1993 he first made headlines by making a takeaway delivery across the Atlantic to New York.
Having been asked to prepare a replica of the banquet he had prepared for the 50th birthday of the then British Prime Minister John Major, he decided to market this novel concept and put together a team of experts at his London restaurant to deliver to record companies and the X-Factor, amongst others, in a venture that proved extremely successful.
Mafiz Ali subsequently catered for Cliff Richard, Damage, the Sugar Babes, Gabby Ross, Soul to Soul, Chaka Demus, Rustie Lee, Anthea Turner and many others. His food has also been sent to Australia, Japan and the US - Atlanta as well as New York.
Another of his original ideas saw him included in the Guinness Book of Records, when he teamed up with an engineer to create the world’s largest curry pot. This pot contained 4.5 tons of chicken masala, and helped to raise awareness of his favourite charities.
In 1998 Mafiz Ali launched the British Curry Awards, and various other culinary competitions, designed to bring together chefs of all ages, both amateur and professional, to compete for recognition of their skills and to promote Bangladeshi cuisine in the UK.
His charitable activities have seen him extend his generosity to the Save the Children Fund, Pat Kerr’s Orphanage Ordinance Fund and the War Child Charity Trust, holding charity parties at his restaurant.
Two years ago he also started similar activities in Ayrshire, and now hopes to build on them in the future.
Mafiz Ali’s outstanding cuisine has placed him in the media spotlight, and he has made 67 television appearances on channels such as GMTV, Big Breakfast TV, Channel 4, as well as his own TV programme on Bangladeshi TV and double that amount of broadcasting time on radio. He has also contributed numerous articles to the printed media, including newspapers like the Sun, Daily Mirror and the Times.
When asked why such a distinguished chef would want to return to Minishant, Mafiz Ali replies simply: “I like it here. It is a beautiful place, which is peaceful and far removed from the stress of city life.”