A RESTAURATEUR who has helped spearhead the UK Bangladeshi food industry is to be made an MBE by the Queen.
Father-of-four Bajloor Rashid opened up his first business in Dover in 1980 and has since established an enviable reputation in the national curry business.
The Ashford resident, who lives in Willesborough, is the current president of the Bangladesh Caterers Association which comprises of over 12,000 restaurants employing around 150,000 people and generates an annual turnover of £3.5 billion for the UK economy.
Speaking about the time he found out he was on the New Year honours list, he said: "It's a great honour for me and has made all the hard work worthwhile. I'm very proud."
The 49-year-old first gained prominence in the early 1980s as a young entrepreneur of the booming curry industry.
His first restaurant, the Curry Garden, in High Street, Dover, helped launch his career after he moved to England in 1978.
He now owns three restaurants in Ashford, Whitstable and Wingham and he recently sold one of his restaurants in Southgate, North London.
Mr Rashid added: "When I found out six weeks ago, I only told my wife because she was with me when I opened the letter.
"It told me not to tell anyone but I told my children at the weekend. I'm over the moon."