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Panache Elgin restaurant manager earns 'Community Hero' industry award for efforts during pandemic

By Lorna Thompson

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THE owner of an award-winning Elgin Indian restaurant has been recognised as a "Community Hero" at an industry event in Westminster.

Panache Elgin manager Mamun Hussain received the accolade after his business provided more than 500 free meals to Moray frontline workers over the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mamun picked up his award on Tuesday, September 7, at the Asian Catering Federation (ACF) annual networking dinner and launch of the 11th Asian Curry Awards 2021.

The event was held at the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace at the House of Lords, overlooking the River Thames.

Mamun received his award in front of an audience of VIP guests, including TV news anchor Samantha Simmonds.

Mamun said: "Over the past 18 months we offered free meals for vulnerable people on Tuesdays, and delivered free meals to Dr Gray's Hospital staff and people working on the front line at the police station and fire station. We also offered a special discount for frontline workers.

"We did as much as we could afford to help local people during the lockdowns.

"The award is a great achievement for us. It's all about the customers and the people who support our team.

Panache Elgin manager Mamun Hussain (2nd right) being presented with his Community Hero award in London.
Panache Elgin manager Mamun Hussain (2nd right) being presented with his Community Hero award in London.

"We work hard and the pandemic has been difficult for all – hard for us as well.

"Without the support of local people through the pandemic we might have had to close our restaurant because it was such a hard time.

"So to thank customers for their support we'll continue to help our community as much as we can."

The manager of the South Street restaurant was one of four in the industry UK-wide to earn the Community Hero award for outstanding contributions in their local areas over the last year.

A special Champion Global Fundraiser award also went to 102-year-old restaurant founder Dabirul Islam Choudry MBE, who raised more than £1 million for Covid-19 relief by walking 970 laps of his garden in East London while fasting during Ramadan.

ACF chairman Yawar Khan said the awards acknowledged the generosity of the Asian hospitality sector in the face of a global pandemic.

He said: "Despite the hardships of lockdown, with so many personal tragedies and severe business disruption, the kindness shown was immense."

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