Chef flown 4,000 miles to cook a curry in the Congo

Southend Standard: Global demand – chef Shahena Ali Akmal Ali, Siraj Ali owner and chef Global demand – chef Shahena Ali Akmal Ali, Siraj Ali owner and chef

A CHEF will fly an Indian feast 4,000 miles as a festive treat for peace-keeping troops – paid for by a wealthy pilot who was blown away by her culinary skills.

Shahena Ali, head chef at the Maharaja restaurant in Thundersley, was hand-picked to cook up a special meal for 150 United Nations soldiers, based in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

The chef, who has appeared on radio and TV, will leave Southend Airport by private jet, to personally deliver the food.

She was given the unique opportunity after a pilot visited the Maharaja, on Bread and Cheese Hill, last week.

Captain Mustafa Aolad owns Imperial Air Services and travels the world salvaging plane wrecks.

He has a cousin working for the Armed Forces as a UN peacekeeper and was so impressed by the meal at the Maharaja he decided to treat his relative and his colleagues over Christmas.

As well as paying £1,500 for the meal, Mr Aolad will cover the cost of the private flight to the Congo capital Kinshasa, and a two-night hotel stay.

Miss Ali, 36, from Stanford said: “It’s certainly going to be an experience, and I am very happy to do this.

“It’s great I have been given the opportunity.

“It’s a unique request, but I am delighted to help.

“This is somewhere I wouldn’t normally have access to so it’s a wonderful chance to see what is happening out there.

“These troops are away from home over Christmas so it’s amazing to be able to do something for them.”

The Maharaja, which is owned by Miss Ali’s father, opened over 30 years ago.

Miss Ali trained at the restaurant and has gone on to feature on BBC Radio, UKTV Food and Channel 4 programme Taste.

She will spend tonight and tomorrow morning cooking up a three-course meal for the troops, with a main course of masala chicken bhuna.

Miss Ali added: “We didn’t want to make anything too spicy or too mild.

“I want to give the troops traditional Indian cuisine, but need to make sure I cater for all tastes.”

Comments (5)

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7:28am Thu 19 Dec 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

Yup nothing like a 3 course Curry that has sweated its way 1000's of miles in a hot box and then served up 5 days later in a place like the Congo.
Yup nothing like a 3 course Curry that has sweated its way 1000's of miles in a hot box and then served up 5 days later in a place like the Congo. DogsMessInLeigh

9:28am Thu 19 Dec 13

Thames Gateway says...

Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else?
Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else? Thames Gateway

10:00am Thu 19 Dec 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

Thames Gateway wrote:
Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else?
We have now.
And its unusual for a Female curry chef round these parts so hats off to her, and that wealthy pilot(whats the chances its family/or family friend) was blown away by the Maharaja..he should have wrote a glowing report on Tripadvisor might balance out some of the not so glowing ones i just read.
[quote][p][bold]Thames Gateway[/bold] wrote: Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else?[/p][/quote]We have now. And its unusual for a Female curry chef round these parts so hats off to her, and that wealthy pilot(whats the chances its family/or family friend) was blown away by the Maharaja..he should have wrote a glowing report on Tripadvisor might balance out some of the not so glowing ones i just read. DogsMessInLeigh

10:39am Thu 19 Dec 13

w-jback says...

Thames Gateway wrote:
Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else?
Should be Imperial Air salvage !
[quote][p][bold]Thames Gateway[/bold] wrote: Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else?[/p][/quote]Should be Imperial Air salvage ! w-jback

12:10pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Thames Gateway says...

w-jback wrote:
Thames Gateway wrote:
Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else?
Should be Imperial Air salvage !
Thanks. At least google is my friend on that.
[quote][p][bold]w-jback[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Thames Gateway[/bold] wrote: Imperial Air Services? I haven't heard of them, has anyone else?[/p][/quote]Should be Imperial Air salvage ![/p][/quote]Thanks. At least google is my friend on that. Thames Gateway

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