Torquay chef challenging perceptions of South Asian food

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When you go to Torquay's Bombay Express you might not get quite what you normally expect from an Indian restaurant. Chef Rehan Uddin likes to do things a little differently.

He says "We are looking very closely at the things that you eat. What is it that you are putting into your gut and how is it making you feel?

Rehan Uddin runs the Bombay Express in Torquay Credit: ITV WESTCOUNTRY

"In many Indian restaurants you will start out with an onion chutney, onion bhaji, then onions in your curry. It's just onion overkill. One of the things onions do is bloat your stomach so we started this little social media campaign - 'no more BS' - no more bloated stomach.

"The idea behind this is that we want you to feel great after your meal and whilst you are eating it."

Rehan prides himself in offering something a little different Credit: ITV Westcountry

Rehan became disillusioned with the way leaders in the sector were running things so he banded with some like-minded people to form the Asian Restaurant Owners Network and they now have more than 2000 members across the country.

He says "Change is not always received with open arms and, for me, breaking the stereotypes and really challenging that hierarchy and then also challenging the stereotypes about Indian restaurants, the floral carpets, velvet curtains, the whole shebang, this is something that needs to be opened up as a dialogue.

He says "We want to make sure that not only are we competing with other Indian restaurants, but just restaurants as a whole.

Rehan uses digital technology in the kitchen, rather than traditional tandoori ovens Credit: ITV Westcountry

"There is still room on the High Street for the Balti, however, if you are able to adjust your operation and really hone in on what customers want now, you can make those changes and certainly reap the rewards."

He says being brought up in Torbay, with mixed Bangladeshi/Pakistani/Indian heritage, he felt he didn't really fit into any one of those communities, but now he's making that his USP.

Rehan now wants to improve education in south Asian cooking, working with colleges in future on inspiring and training more young chefs in the UK to cook high-end Asian food, no matter what their own background is.