Warwick business owner recognised in awards as he prepares for latest charity challenge
He is taking on the challenge in aid of Mencap
A Warwick takeaway owner who has spent the pandemic year supporting frontline workers and the homeless, has been named as a finalist in the inaugural Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie Awards on the eve of his next fundraising event this weekend.
Baabzi Miah, who runs Baabzi’s Indian Takeaway in Coten End, Warwick, is among those to be nominated for Chef of the Year, guest judged by, among others, celebrity chef Glyn Purnell and his former employer Andreas Antona, owner of The Cross in Kenilworth.
On Sunday – World Down Syndrome Day - he sets off to walk and cycle a distance of 363 kilometres in aid of Mencap, which is the equivalent distance in kilometres as the number of days in his late son Adam’s life.
The Birmingham dad began fundraising during the first lockdown last March following the death of 11-month-old Adam, who was born with Down syndrome and pulmonary hypertension and died in 2017 after suffering complications due to flu.
Since then, Baabzi’s Covid-19 NHS Appeal has raised more than £10,000 for Heartlands and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital through donations as well as sponsored challenges including a skydive, cycling event and charity day.
Throughout the first lockdown he and his team also donated food parcels to Warwick and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals frontline workers as well as the Helping Hands homelessness charity in Leamington.
Plus they donated 2,000 surgical masks to staff at Warwick Hospital.
Baabzi is among around 40 business owners now invited to a Foodie Awards Finalists and Supporters event in Coventry on July 22, which will also act as a curtain-raiser to the return of Coventry BID’s Food Festival weekend, announced earlier this week.
Kicking off on July 23, the Festival is aiming to host the largest selection of artisan food producers in the region and will be headlined by Michelin Star chef Theo Randall and Lesley Waters, who is well known for her cookery books, and television appearances on Ready Steady Cook (BBC), Great Food Live (UKTV), and This Morning (ITV).
Reacting to the award, Baabzi said: “We are truly humbled at becoming finalists in the Foodie Awards Chef of the Year category.
"It's such an honour to be considered and given that we have gone through the most challenging year of recent times, it's an honour that carries an even bigger meaning to us all at Baabzi’s.
“Our focus has always been on serving our customers in the best way possible, but this year opened our eyes to the entire community we are a part of.
"Our community-focused projects have humbled us massively and we are motivated to keep on moving forward together.”
He added: “Our incredibly personal and life-changing experience heavily impacted our lives.
"Losing a child left a massive vacuum and the only way that I have been able to find much-needed comfort and peace has been this need to serve, to give back in some way.
"This has been a very personal journey for me and my family and it's helped us heal. My family and I were cared for and lovingly supported by these wonderful people at the NHS during a harrowing time in their own lives.
“I can never forget that and that's why last year I raised money for the NHS and did whatever I could for them to show that support and respect that I have for them.”
The dad-of-six said that he and his family would never forget the care they received during the 'worst time in their lives'.
Baabzi added: “Mencap does some truly inspiring work and I wholeheartedly back their ethos that everybody is an individual and they treat everyone they work with as individuals.
"I want to help raise funds to help them to continue to provide excellent programs, services and support within this area,” he said.
To support Baabzi’s fundraising go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/baabzi-fundraising-mencap