A British curry house has come to the rescue of UN peacekeepers in the Congo – and sent them a takeaway on a 5,000-mile mission.
Chef Abul Monsur and his team cooked up the feast – £costing 3,000 – for 80 members of the Bangladeshi Air Force currently stationed in deepest Africa.
Abul, who runs the Taj Cuisine in Lower Stoke, nr Rochester, Kent swung into action after an unusual request from retired Bangladeshi Major Razee ul Islam.
He saw Abul’s skills on a programme on Bangladeshi TV and decided he would be ideal to spice up morale for the Bangladeshi Air Force in the war-torn city of
In a fax to the restaurant owner he wrote: “Even though they get a UN food supply, it’s not always possible to find good Bengali cooking.
“Since you are one of the topmost chefs, I would be happy to pay for your services.”
Abul, 46, took up the challenge and on Thursday his curries – frozen in plastic trays with dry ice – were loaded onto a helicopter at Rochester Airport.
From there they were flown to Paris and loaded onto a Jumbo jet to the Congolese capital Kinshasa.
The 48-hour journey finally ended with them transferred to the UN base, which also holds British, Canadian, American and Pakistani troops.
Accompanying the curries – packed in clear trays so customs officials could inspect them – was Mr Monsur, his restaurant manager Shahed Ahmed and pilot Mustapha Azim.
Abul – who is generously supplying the takeaway for free – said: “I’m so nervous – I thought it was a dream because you don’t get people ringing for that kind of thing.
“We’ve tried to keep the recipes simple and avoid ingredients like prawns because we have to reheat everything. Touch wood, nothing will go wrong.
“I said because they’re doing the nation good I will do a free takeaway.”
The curries include classics like chicken tikka masala, chicken korma, chicken jalfrezi, vegetable korai and lamb bhuna.
Abul has won awards for his fusion cooking and last summer served soldiers working at the Olympics.