Controversial broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli is promising to add laughter as an essential ingredient to a menu of unique Asian dishes at an award-winning Birmingham restaurant.
The comic and former finalist on BBC’s Celebrity Masterchef will help prepare an exclusive menu of specially-created Asian dishes for diners at the prestigious Itihaas restaurant in the city’s Jewellery Quarter.
He will intersperse the courses with a full comedy performance drawing on a chequered past few years which has seen him kicked off a top BBC One programme following allegations made against him by staff on the show.
The comedy and curry event takes place at the restaurant in Fleet Street on June 27 and it is the first time the broadcaster has attempted to combine his passions for food and fun in such intimate surroundings.
Dishes have been developed specially by Singh Kohli and award-winning Itihaas head chef, Mandeep Bajwa.
The writer and comedian said: “I am very excited about this. Mandeep will work with me in providing and cooking a decadent evening of high class cuisine especially created for this event. And of course, there is the comedy part too.”
Diners can expect a menu of bespoke Indian cuisine including Gol Gappa in Champagne Pani, a gourmet variation on a traditional Mumbai street food favourite. There will also be the opportunity to sample an old English treat with an Indian twist – Naan and Butter pudding. Quality brandy and spirits provided by famous distillers Moet and Hennessey will be served between courses.
Food has provided a career rehabilitation for the outspoken presenter.
He was dropped as a roving reporter by The One Show in 2009 following allegations by a female production worker about his “improper behaviour”.
Since then he has developed his food career and punctuated appearances on radio and as a guest host on Channel Five’s The Wright Stuff with three years on the road.
His latest UK gigs also had a food theme but the curry served on the nationwide Indian Takeaway tour earlier this year was a little more basic than the offerings set for his private Birmingham performance.
Indian Takeaway 2013 dished up details of his dual Scottish and Indian heritage and celebrated curry and the restaurants that serve Britain’s favourite take-home dish.
The comic pledged to find the best Indian takeaway in the UK with help from his audience.
Gig-goers offered suggestions for an area’s top tandooris and the broadcaster ordered a delivery to the theatre live on stage.
He then raced against time to cook his own spice-filled feast before the takeaway arrived – along the way, sharing recipe tips, anecdotes and wonderful stories of his heritage.
Now he is taking the concept upmarket with the Itihaas gourmet evening.
Restaurant owner and Birmingham businessman Raj Rana said the event was perfect for networking among the city’s commercial community.
Mr Rana said: “This is the perfect evening for Birmingham and its business people who appreciate good food.
“We see this as a real addition to our repertoire of excellence in cuisine and Hardeep Singh Kohli is the perfect host and celebrity chef to bring the ‘wow’ factor to the evening.
“He has an excellent palate which was proved when he reached the finals of Celebrity Masterchef.
“Combined with the creativity of our own head chef it will provide a unique dining experience for those who appreciate the finest in Asian cuisine.
“This menu is a unique creation for the event. It will inspire diners and there are some excellent surprises in store.”
Itihaas has been featured in many television programmes, including Michel Roux’s BBC2 series, Service, which featured the celebrated chef mentoring a group of youngsters as they tried out a career in catering.
Tickets for the Itihaas evening are £55 per person, which includes: a vodka cocktail reception and paired whisky and brandy between courses.
Places are limited and tickets can be booked by contacting the restaurant by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 212 3383.