The secret of Purton’s hidden treasure is out after The Maharajah received 5 stars in the Scores on the Doors food safety rating scheme.
Environmental health inspectors from North Wilts District Council were so impressed with the food and health hygene compliance systems put in place by owner Khalique Ali that they invited him to act as a consultant for the scheme.
Principal Environmental Health Officer, Martin Thorne, pictured here with Mr Ali and his staffand his team have visited over 40 premises in North Wiltshire since the scheme’s launch at the start of the year.
They assess how food is handled, the condition of the rooms where it is prepared and the quality of written records and management which are rated on an easy to understand 0 to 5 star score.
Mr Thorne said, "we were hugely impressed with Khalique’s straight forward system of monitoring compliance with the legislation and asked him to help us provide guidance to other restaurateurs.
"Whilst Asian restaurants mostly comply with legislation, they have to demonstrate they are doing so by providing written records for inspection. The language barrier is a problem and they were letting themselves down by not having adequate systems in place to show that they are doing things properly."
Khalique explained that he had applied his training as a systems engineer to brake down the food standards legislation into simple step-by-step check sheets for his staff so that they know what to do for every operation in the kitchen.
In May he made a joint presentation with Martin to 36 restaurant owners in Chippenham where they gave practical illustrations of how to monitor and manage hygiene issues in both English and Bengali.
Khalique said Martin had used a computer whilst he captured attention by using an onion and a stick to illustrate his points. "The onion is the basis of all Asian food; good stock is made from good onions. But if they are not fresh or contaminated from the start, everything served in a restaurant will suffer. Breaking the stick in front of the other owners was my way of telling them that once it’s snapped you cannot put it together again."
Feedback from restaurant owners has been good and another course will run shortly. "Obviously I’m very pleased that the Maharajah has been rated as a 5 star restaurant but I don’t want to be on my own," said Khalique.
"It’s a privilege to work with the Environmental Health department to improve the standards. Most owners just think they want to interfere and close them down but in North Wilts they want to help restaurants improve because this will benefit our customers."
SwindonLink readers obviously know a good thing when they taste it because The Maharajah has advertised on the front page of the site's paper publication for nearly ten years.