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#Pioneer: Cinnamon Club chef Vivek Singh awarded Honorary Doctorate

Pioneering Indian chef Vivek Singh, CEO of London's famed Cinnamon Club empire, has been awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Warwick in recognition of his efforts in developing Indian cuisine in the UK.

Mr Singh, 44, was honoured at the University's winter convocation on 21 January by Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift.

Professor Thrift said: “We are delighted to present Vivek with a Warwick honorary degree for his significant contribution to the development of Indian cuisine in the UK. As a university, Warwick shares Vivek’s passion for food which can be most clearly seen in our Global Research Priorities Programme for Food, which brings together researchers from all disciplines to explore issues of food production and supply, environmental and social sustainability, social justice, nutrition and public health.”

West Bengal-born Mr Singh had first came to prominence in his native India - a graduate of the Institute of Hotel Management and Culinary Arts in Delhi, Mr Singh would go on to work at the prestigious Oberoi Grand in Calcutta and the world-renowned Raj Vilas resort in Jaipur.

He entered Britain's culinary consciousness in early 2001 when he teamed up with restaurant promoter Iqbal Wahhab to establish The Cinnamon Club in Central London.

The duo transformed the magnificent old Westminster library across the street from the Houses of Parliament, taking the humble curry up-market in one fell swoop.

The restaurant was such a pioneering venture that the BBC was moved to make a documentary chronicling the birth of a restaurant that has since gone on to become the benchmark for the Indian fine dining scene in the UK.

Mr Singh has since taken over the Cinnamon Club and expanded the business to include several new innovative outlets, including Cinnamon Kitchen and Anise, Cinnamon Soho and Joho Soho, a new restaurant that marries the modern craze for authentic street food with the Cinnamon Club's dedication to quality ingredients and modern cooking techniques.

In its citation for Mr Singh, the university invoked the chef's personal mantra 'Innovation Today Forms the Basis of Tradition Tomorrow' in his success.

"The University of Warwick and I share many of the same aspirations and goals, as well as a love for the food industry, and I look forward to building a lasting relationship with Professor Thrift and his talented team”, Mr Singh said.

The University also lauded Mr Singh's charitable initiatives, in particular his work with the children's charity Wooden Spoon, Action Against Hunger and the government-backed Asian Restaurant Skills Board.

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#SUPERRICH: Shah Rukh Khan enters India’s “SUPER RICH” Club

Whilst he has been previously valued as India’s first “Billion Dollar” celebrity, megastar Shah Rukh Khan has been officially placed in the list of India’s wealthiest individuals with a personal wealth amounting to a mere $400 million. The star of ‘Chennai Express’ – the highest grossing Bollywood movie in history …

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“The 100-Crore Club is Meaningless” – Reliance Entertainment CEO

 

Much like the company that he helms, Sanjeev Lamba, CEO of Reliance Entertainment, is something of an outsider. 

Unlike the ranks of Indian movie executives that tend to fade into the background, Lamba is impassioned, outspoken and garrulous, driving home the need for the global filmmaking fraternity to follow the example set by international audiences and better embrace Bollywood and Indian cinema. 

In early September, at the Toronto International Film Festival - where he was helping promote "Rush", the Formula One drama based on the real life rivalry between racing greats Niki Lauda and James Hunt and which is distributed by Reliance - a slightly annoyed Lamba criticized Hollywood's obsession and called for big studios to tap into the vast potential on offer in India.

Since his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Reliance Entertainment in 2009 the former Walt Disney, Weinstein Company and Zee Movies executive has steered the company to become a quietly impactful player in myriad industries - from Bollywood and Hollywood to Tollywood and Kollywood - and in the process, striking financing, production and distribution deals for a myriad array of pictures, from Shah Rukh Khan's gangster saga 'Don 2' to Spielberg's 'Lincoln'.

Straddling such diverse worlds, making deals, requires something of a terrier spirit, one which Lamba seems to possess in abundance.

On a flying visit to London to promote his company's latest release 'Besharam' - starring man-of-the-moment Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda and the lead actor's real-life parents Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh - Lamba and Reliance COO Mahesh Ramanathan spoke to the UKAsian about India's untapped potential, the '100-Crore Club' and the vagaries of the film business.

 

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Bollywood’s “100-Crore Club”: Some Context.

An aunt of a London-based film industry friend recently posed some interesting questions.  “Beta, I keep hearing about this ‘100-Crore Club’.  Is it a really exclusive place?  How much is it to get in?  Do they serve food?  Have you been there at all?”, she queried of my incredulous friend. …

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Goa rejects proposal for Playboy Club over “shack technicality”

Playboy India have begun packing away the adapted bunny costumes and push-up bras after lawmakers in Goa rejected a proposal to set up the sub-continent’s first playboy club in the famous holiday state. Locals had complained the club would promote prostitution, despite the club’s promoters unveiling conservative new outfits and …

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