BRTAIN’S best Indian chefs are coming to Oxford and there won’t be a tikka masala in sight.

The first UK Indian Chef competition will launch at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College next Monday, with 27 cooks battling it out to claim the title.

Award-winning Cowley chef Muhammed Ali is behind the charity contest and hopes it will become an annual, nationwide event.

The competition – supported by the Oxfordshire Bangladeshi Association – will showcase the best of Britain’s Indian cuisine and aims to move away from traditional stereotypes about curry.

Mr Ali, head chef at Karma restaurant in Oxford Road, said: “It will be a great occasion.

“Indian food is undergoing a revolution in Britain, with increasing numbers of ambitious young chefs producing innovative dishes.

“We have come a long way from just tikka masala and vindaloos, and this competition aims to show how exciting modern Indian cooking can be.”

Nine chefs will cook at the Oxpens Road college in the first heat, with two subsequent legs in Banbury.

Out of 27 entrants, nine will go through to the grand final on June 29 at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College’s Banbury campus.

A black-tie dinner will be held that night in Oxford that the public will be able to attend.

Mr Ali said: “The competition is in aid of Cancer Research UK and we hope to raise hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.

“The awards will be handed out at the gala dinner and I will be doing all the catering.

“It will be a celebration of Indian cuisine.”

Last year, Mr Ali won the International Indian Chef of the Year Competition for the UK.

Competing against seven other chefs in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, he impressed the judges with his presentation skills and by cooking five dishes in two hours.

Mr Ali said: “I had a real boost after winning that competition and I want to help my fellow chefs achieve similar accolades.

“It was a great honour for me to represent the UK and we saw a surge in business when I got back.

“I hope this competition will become a prestigious national event that chefs all over Britain aspire to win.”

Lord Mayor of Oxford John Goddard will open the contest on Monday.

He said: “Indian food is very popular in Oxford, and good Indian food is increasingly available, which is wonderful.

“While we have the International Indian Chef of the Year working in Oxford we should certainly make the most of it and encourage Mr Ali to spread his influence.”

Information on how to get £50 tickets for the June 29 black tie charity dinner will be released closer to the date.