A Hamilton restaurant have been given a coveted seal of approval for their food hygiene standards. Mushtaqs in Almada street have received the food standards agency Scotland’s eat safe award. They are the only indian restaurant in Lanarkshire to have the award.
In South Lanarkshire only two other restaurants and 12 other catering establishments have picked up the FSAs accolade. Mushtaqs were recommended to the FSAs for the eat safe award by South Lanarkshire councils environmental health team. Director of the restaurant Ajmal Mushtaq said the recommendation was recognition of their work in adopting and adhering to hygiene standards beyond those required by law. He added “Our internal food hygiene programme was developed at a cost of 40,000 pounds. All chefs and management have formal food hygiene qualifications in addition our chefs have to pass a stringent internal food hygiene test. He said “they adhered to a weekly 160 point cleaning schedule and added we even have CCTVs in the walk in fridges to monitor rules”. Council Community Resources Committee Chairman Gerry Convery said “ this is the standard that we would ideally like all kitchens to achieve”
The FSAs hope the eat safe award scheme will help consumers make informed choices about where to eat out by providing a recognisable sign of excellence in standards of food hygiene. Every food business proprietor nominated for the award has ror sign a contract agreeing to uphold the highest of food standards. Failure to do so would result in the award being withdrawn. Ajmal and his wife Nisreen Mushtaq last November left successful roles in Management and global investment firms in London to take over the running of the family’s restaurant.
Ajmal’s father Mushtaq Mohammed now 73 and retired started the business in 1973 and was one of the pioneers of indian cuisine in Lanarkshire. Ajmal and Nisreen changed to the name of the family restaurant from the Taj Mahal to Mushtaqs and invested 500,000 in the 36 seat restaurant and carry out business. They have increased the number of staff from12 to 22 and expect to take on a further 10 people to cope with a 40% increase in business. Ajmal who is 34 and attended Chatelherault and Hamilton Grammar has degrees in law finance and accountancy and a background in Business Consultancy. At the restaurant he oversees food preparation while Nisreen looks after from of house. He said “we had great jobs in London but came back for the challenge of taking over a business in the middle of a recession and trying to boost it using the lessons we have learnt” The couple say that they have adopted a back to basics approach in the kitchen avoiding processed meats, bulking agents, preservatives, artificial flavourings and using only natural ingredients in their hand made curries”