Slicing and dicing, sizzling and stir-frying were the order of the day in a competition aimed at finding Oxfordshire's best curry chef.

The contest — the first of its kind —was organised by the Bangladeshi Community of Oxfordshire.

Dozens of chefs from across the county sent in their recipe ideas, with eight of the most imaginative invited to take part in a cook-off.

And after an hour in the kitchen at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, followed by a rigorous taste-testing by four judges, Arzoo Miah, who runs Bicester's Arzoo restaurant, was declared winner.

Mr Miah, who served up his signature dish of halibut lazizz and pineapple rice, said: "I feel very good about winning.

"All the chefs did their best and I just won by a few points.

"I am very proud."

The accolade is the latest of a string of awards picked up by Mr Miah, including being named National Curry Chef of the Year in 2000.

Also competing were Amdadur Rahman, from Spice Lounge, North Oxford, Jalal Uddin, from Fiveways, Charlbury, Mohidul Hoque, from Tandoori Nights, Kidlington, Nazrul Islam, from Jaipur, Cowley Road, Muhidur Rahman, from Ready Steady Spice, Eynsham, Shahidul Hoque, from Taste of India, Horspath, and Lokus Miah, of Shakils, Bicester.

Judging the contest were Oxford and Cherwell Valley College hospitality and catering programme manager Mark Roberts, Oxford Mail food editor Paul Stammers, Oxford's Lord Mayor Susanna Pressel and David Jones from the British Red Cross.

Head judge Mr Roberts said: "I thought the standard was very high.

"The interpretation of different dishes was very interesting and the flavours were immense. It was all down to the fresh ingredients they used."

He said he would like to see the calibre of the food he tasted transferred to the county's curry houses and takeaways.

He said: "There was a distinct difference in what we were served to what you usually get in the high street.

"There was a lot of passion and you could see the chefs were really focused on that one dish.

"When you go for a curry sometimes it's not piping hot and there is a lot more sauce than meat or protein.

"It is understandable the quality won't be as high when you have a menu of 40 or 50 dishes and are serving over 100 people, but it would be fantastic to see that kind of passion — and these really flavoursome dishes — in our restaurants."

Muhammed Ali, who organised the event, said he was pleased with its success and hoped it would be an annual fixture.

He said: "We have seen that our Asian chefs are more willing to show their quality and prove they are the best.

"The aim was to give the Asian food industry a bit of motivation and something to look forward to every year to keep up standards."

Mr Miah will be presented with his award, and a £200 prize, at a ceremony in St Edward's School, Woodstock Road, next Tuesday.

Tickets, priced at £40, are available from Mr Ali on 07733 263500.