Who writes The Curry House? You say it's not your job so why do you do it?
David judging the International Chef of the Year Competition
|This is me - David Smith. I am the editor, reporter, cook, Web designer and general dogsbody. There's nobody else involved in the website, just me.
I started The Curry House in November 1996 as a hobby but, shortly after that, it seemed to take on a life of its own. It's now got to the point where other aspects of my life seem to revolve around The Curry House rather than the other way round. You're right, The Curry House is not my job. The site is essentially non-commercial but I have to try and cover my costs and that's the role of Quick Meals from The Curry House.
I have had a passion for restaurant-style curries since I was a teenager (the grey hair tells you how many years ago that was) and have spent more of my adult life than I should have done eating curries and finding out what goes in them and how they are made. I write the website to share what I have learnt over the years with like-minded curry lovers.
Why do you perpetuate the use of this umbrella term "curry" as a description of the diverse cuisine of an entire sub-continent?
When I started this website it was intended to be a celebration of the food you found in ordinary, everyday Indian restaurants. These restaurants are colloquially known in Britain as "curry houses" hence our name. Over the years I have expanded the scope of the site to include the new breed of South Asian restaurants proudly serving authentic regional dishes alongside the old favourite curries.
I make every effort to differentiate between regional Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi dishes and the sort of curries, like that restaurant invention the Madras, you find in high-street curry houses. Mind you, when even a Michelin starred restaurant like Tamarind has a section on its menu entitled "CURRIES" it does make life quite complicated.
We regularly report on initiatives by restaurants to introduce regional dishes to their menus and on competitions such as Tommy Miah's International Indian Chef of the Year which encourage talented young chefs to demonstrate their skills. We never describe such dishes as curries.
And what should I change the name of this website to? "The restaurant which serves Indian-style food which has been tailored to suit British tastes, Punjabi specialities cooked in a tandoor and a selection of authentic Bangladeshi dishes"? That's a bit of a mouthful despite being pretty accurate. I think I'll stick to The Curry House.
Why are your most recent recipes in PDF format rather than standard web pages?
There are 2 reasons. The first is that PDF is a far superior and consistent format when it comes to printing hard copies. If you're going to make the recipe then you are going to need to print it off and PDF makes the best job of it. After all, who cooks a recipe while reading the instructions from their computer screen?
The second reason is piracy. Although it is possible to copy any document which is published in the public domain PDF files do at least offer an elementary degree of copy protection. I've suffered so much abuse of copyright that I felt I must do something. People have posted my recipes to social media without attribution, put them on their own pirated websites without permission and, to cap it all, one "chef" (you know who you are) has published a recipe in a newspaper under his own name.
I'm happy to share my recipes but some people don't appreciate the amount of effort that goes into creating, testing and writing up the recipes. All I ask is that nobody takes them off my site other than for their own personal use. But then I get unscrupulous, lazy people appropriating my recipes, changing a couple of words and pretending they've done all the work!
I'd like to visit your restaurant when I come to England but I can't see the address anywhere.
Sorry, but I am a cook not a chef and The Curry House exists only in virtual space. I only cook for family and friends and have never even worked in a restaurant still less owned one. That is the point of my recipes. They are specifically written to be made at home. They are not scaled down versions of how they cook curries in restaurants.