back to article Pickles plans curry colleges to halt Indian immigration

The conservative UK secretary of state for communities and local government, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, has plans to build a “curry college” to teach unemployed British youth how to replace cooks formerly hired from the Indian sub-continent. The planned culinary academy is designed to teach British people how to master Indian …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eric Pickles

    helps compensate for the defecit of Chins in the rest of the Cabinet.

  2. theotherguy

    Migrants are willing to Live in a small room with 6 other fellow staff. Then work from 10am to 2am 7 days week. Paid minimum wage, with all expenses deducted. This is just to provide curry for the British public to think its so expensive as the supermarket sell it for 1/4 of the price. Good luck to finding local staff willing to take the course.

    1. Kenno

      Its not just that

      Its a case of wage arbritage tbh, they sleep ten to a room and then take the money home and even though what they can buy here is bog all. Back home they can buy a lot.

      Anyway working in hot food CAN be lucractive and being a chef hand was a doorway to bigger things. My dad was a migrant from Taiwan in the 1960s. He worked as a chef making crappy food for people for low wages. By 1975 he opened his own, then golden age between 1980-2001(when racism had died down) and business was good with little competition.

      If biz conditions are good, usual thing low competition you can still make a shed load of money off it. Place down in cornwall. Pulled £9000 a week through selling hot food. It was almost total monopoly though

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Then the restaurant is doing it wrong

      I'm certain there are kitchen workers working in abysmal underpaid conditions and squalid accomodation. But claiming its the public's fault is absurd. It's the restaurants fault, particularly the owners who are so unscrupulous that they would engage virtual slaves rather than paying wages. Lots of restaurants manage to pay people at least the minimum wage and offer value for money to customers. There is no excuse for any curry house that doesn't.

    3. Marvin the Martian
      IT Angle

      "A man who likes his food"

      Quality no, quantity yes!

      Also, shouldn't he be teaching british people to eat british food, wouldn't that be more logical?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What IS British food?

        After hearing that even fish and chips was imported, it does leave me wondering whether Britains only contribution to worldwise specialist cuisine was the deep fried mars bar and banoffee pie. (recently met one of the chefs that created banoffee pie; very nice chap.)

      2. badbeard

        British Food?

        If food is made in Britain it's British food.

        Unless you would like to enlighten us on what British food is?

    4. TwistUrCapBack

      more chins ??

      than a chinese phonebook

    5. TwistUrCapBack

      more chins ..

      than a chinese phone book

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    They are hired not because they can cook

    Half of them never did anything related to cooking back in their countries. The entire ethnic cousine backdoor in the immigration law is one big fraud.

    So are the local youths trained in curry or not is of little relevance. That does not solve the problem of curry migration and does not solve the problem of unemployment (any more than any other training).

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Just stop them entering the country, deny all work visas. Job done and no need for us to send yet more money to a country that can afford to build a nuclear arsenal and to which we already export jobs.

    1. JohnG

      There has been at least one case where a restaurant have been told they cannot refuse to employ a local (with qualifications and experience) solely on the basis that the language of their kitchen is not English and that they would rather employ someone from Bangladesh.

      I can't see the point of the curry course though - there are perfectly adequate catering courses, which also include the prerequisite food safety and hygiene elements.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    99% of "Indian" restaurants are in fact Bangladeshi. South Indian, Punjabi and other specialist restaurants are authentically Indian (e.g. Bombay Brasserie, Cafe Spice Namaste); most aren't. Note - you could argue that prior to independence, British India included other countries - Bangladesh and Pakistan - however, what you're eating in most restaurants is no where near what is eaten in India.

    So you think the owners of Bangladeshi restaurants are going to hire non Bangladeshi employees to cook ? Perhaps Pickles brain has itself been Pickled.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Ah the memories...

    Just one little Waffer Thin Mint Monsieur?

    1. JimC

      @ owners of Bangladeshi restaurants are going to hire non Bangladeshi

      There are plenty of unemployed lads of Bangladeshi origin about. Of course the big problem is they've been through the English education system, not the Bangladeshi one.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      "So you think the owners of Bangladeshi restaurants are going to hire non Bangladeshi employees to cook ?"

      I think the idea is "if you don't, you don't have a cook".

    3. Charles Manning

      Indians do hire Brits!

      Well at least Indian motor companies based in UK (Jag, Land Rover etc) do.

      Probably though your average Chav lacks the work ethic to serve pissed punters late into the night.

  7. Andrew Barr

    So no Chefs.....

    But who is going to train the new British Chefs...... Ahh... That will be the authentic Indian Cuisine Teachers!!!

  8. Lars Silver badge

    What about

    The British starting to open British restaurants with British food for a good post-pub feed.

    1. Kenno

      Hot food is extremely hard physical work

      Because catering is absolutely back breaking work. I run an 'English' Chippy (I'm not ethnically English) and it requires about 70 hours of input from me and 40 hours labour input through various staff I hire (not at min wage either).

      It is also kind of risky, chav robberies and abuse is frequent, lots of prepared stuff goes to waste and someweeks business simply evaporates. This week for instance I'm set to make a loss. The same customers are coming in but are buying considerably less.

      Add in the uber high business rates and rent I need to find £19000 in rent business rates and various other things like insurance before I even open for one hour.

    2. The BigYin

      There is no such thing... British food. That died a good 60-70 years ago and we should lament its passing. Hell, it's nigh-on impossible to get a decent loaf of bread in this country never mind anything more challenging.

      If it's not cheap, Brits simply don't want to know.

  9. Mike Richards

    It takes a very special brand of genius to come up with this idea

    We *could* spend our money ensuring kids have the skills to compete in a global marketplace dominated by high technology, engineering and manufacturing (like they are in - sayyyyy India). We could see if immigrant groups have equal access to education and training so that they could work in what's left of our economy; or we could just assume that people from the subcontinent and their children are happy to continue making curry.

    1. JohnG

      The snag with that idea is that so many companies are in foreign ownership and jobs have been/are being exported. Which is why this engineer is writing this in Germany, having followed work here over a decade ago.

      What we do know from recent statistics is that many of those skilled workers brought in (Tier 1 visas) to resolve non-existent skills shortages are now in catering, cleaning or other unskilled work.

    2. Charles Manning

      Think long term... 10 to 20 years...

      This sort of training is good.

      In 10-20 years time all the skilled jobs would have gone to India etc. Brit Yoof can emigrate to India and set up restaurants there.

      No doubt some Indians will go for the ethnic experience of Fish and Chips, but many will want more normal fare. Thats when the curry skills will pay off.

  10. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Not just curry cooks

    What about all those other foreigners that come and work here?

    Surely we should be retraining British unemployed to be priests, imans and rabbis?

    Alongside the opportunities for stripping shouldn't Sheffield job centres also offer the opportunity to retrain as religous leaders to redundant steel workers?

    1. Havin_it


      How many people do we need to train to be David Bowie's wife?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    French restaurants?

    To be honest this doesn't differ any way from French restaurants. I mean how many of those have a french chef.

  12. kain preacher Silver badge


    What does Chef Ramesy serve :)

  13. LarsG


    IN my line of work I deal with over 100 Indian (actually Bangladesh) restaurants and takeaways. Almost to man they all say that the restrictions on staff from abroad are causing mayhem.

    They also say that in general, British born asians are not interested as they have aspirations of what they consider to be better things.

    One owner has 5 children, all have gone to university, two doctors, a solicitor and graphic designer and one at still in education. The guy has not had a day off in 12 years.

    None of his family want the business. Pickles is just worried he might lose a bit of weight.

    1. ad47uk
      Thumb Up

      Then they will close simple as that, the amount of Indian and other foreign takeaways, restaurants and shops that have opened around here in the last 12 months is beyond it, they all can't be making money, so my money is that they are a tax dodge or a way to get people over here.

      Also a few of the Easton European food shops around here have been raided by police for illegal tobacco.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        not everything the ethnics do is a tax dodge - most of them did well during the boom years and when jobs dried up they poured their money (savings) into restaurants - which makes sense as a cheap takeaway makes money during an economic down turn and posh places not so much.

        With regards them making money? Well like you said, you've seen them pop up in the last 12 months - now wait for another 12 months too see which ones are still running.

        Asian people tend to sometimes go a bit lemming - if one person opens a takeaway - the rest of them are at it soon enough. Doesn't mean they'll be in business long.

        In my area I've seen at least two change ownership/get re-branded in the last few months.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC at 19:19

          But there's the difference. At least the Asian populace are opening businesses and trying to work.

          The Brits are sat at home, swilling their cheap lager, going "Woe is me" and then wondering when their next hand-out will arrive. To be honest, I'd rather be in a nation of hard-working immigrants than dole-scrounging Brits.

          If an immigrant can make a go of a business (succeed or fail) then so can a Brit. If the Brits had any work ethic left.

          1. Why Not?

            no wonder AC

            Such prejudice & racism.

            Yes you can be racist against those born in the UK. I know its normally an easy target but its still wrong.

            Many of the people on the Dole are turning down work because it doesn't make financial sense for them to work. Why take a minimum wage job when it means your benefits are cut and you end up unable to pay your rent. Its not entirely their fault. Remember we turn our nose up because most of us are earning well above the average wage.

            These guys are offering £12,000 for a 60 -80 hour week, once you take the job then your council tax, housing etc benefit are cut so you end up £2 a week better off or many hundreds worse off depending where you are in the benefit system. That is the problem. The unemployed may have to change their expectations. But I bet you aren't willing to work for less than your rent for the rest of your life (many of us worked our way through college so we did nasty jobs for a few months) if you can sit at home and make more?

            The answer is not to ship in people who will work for a few years here and send the money home where a few pounds are worth a lot. That is Globalisation the only people that win are the employers. Lower wages, more exploitation because your employer holds your visa, home country loses their best workers meaning they are less able to bring the country up.

            Most of those imported will be the middle class who are skilled and qualified (they can afford to get here) so which do the employers take for minimum wage washing up job the tongue tied 18 year old or the trained engineer in his 20s?

            If you want to get the 'Beer swilling unemployed' you believe exist working then you need to make it difficult for them to stay at home, make them work for their benefits, you will probably find half of them already are, benefit fraud is endemic.

            They are closing a loophole that was exploited to bring in more Bangladeshi's in despite the fact the ethnic group with one of the highest level of unemployment is the Bangladeshi's. Who one assumes had the ethnic background the Bangladesh Caterers Association assured the immigration service was a pre requisite to cooking authentic Indian cuisine.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              no wonder AC

              erm, I think you'll find that most of those opening the takeaways are 'born British' - they just happen to be brown...does that make them less British?

              you say it only benefits the employers - who happen to be British nationals (unlike a lot of our large companies which tend to be completely foreign owned - and don't like paying tax).

              Last I read, and this was during the boom years, Bangladeshi owned 'Indian' restaurants turned over something like £4 billion/year. Now most of these are owned by old timers who would otherwise be unemployed due to lack of qualifications (to take up IT jobs for example).

              I rather them working and contributing £4billion to the economy and staying off the dole (not to mention passing on the work ethic to their kids).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aviation Nightmare

    Having Eric pickles sat next to you on a low budget transcontinental flight.

  15. Rombizio
    IT Angle

    Rowan Atkinson rules!

    Yes he does.

  16. Bsquared

    Eric Pickles is clearly channelling Rowan Atkinson's splendidly oily Conservative minister from a few years back:

    "A lot of immigrants are Indians and Pakistanis, for instance, and I like curry. I do.

    But now that we've got the recipe...

    Is there really any need for them to stay?"

    * Props to the poster on CiF over at the Guardian who recalled this prescient gem of a sketch.

  17. Lamont Cranston

    Is "Curry Chef" the only job that's being lost to immigrant labour?

    No. How about Pickles and his chums set about dealing with employers who are willing to flout the law to pay illegal staff members illegally low wages? Maybe he should put his head together with IDS, and they can both have a think about why some people are better off on benefits?

  18. pctechxp

    @Edward Kenworthy

    I wholeheartedly agree, one of the reaspns we have so much unemployment is that so much has been offshored.

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