A Leyland takeaway is hoping to experience the sweet taste of success in a prestigious national awards next week.
Safia’s Dream Desserts is one of just five North West finalists in the British Takeaway Awards after they received the most public votes.
The Hough Lane shop was only opened 18 months ago by owner Kamran Ali, who will be attending the awards ceremony at The Savoy, London, on Monday.
Sarah Williams, former star of BBC2 Dragon’s Den and Graham Corfield, UK managing director of Just Eat, will be on the judging panel choosing the winners.
Mr Ali will be accompanied by shop employee Hayley Todd.
“It’s like being a princess for the day for her,” said Mr Ali. “She’ll never experience anything like this again. She’s loving it.”
Mr Ali said the shop had gone through a rigorous selection period, including a ‘mystery shopper’ on its way to the finals.
“It’s just fantastic,” said Mr Ali, who lives in Blackburn. “We’re quite taken back to be honest. We’ve done so well. We’re looking forward to it. It’s all go, go go.”
He said the shop was popular for its delicious waffles and crepes - and other mouth-watering delights, such as sundaes and ice creams.
“It’s like the public voting for us really, the public choosing,” added Mr Ali, who said he expected the mystery shopper to have already visited the premises, but was not concerned.
“Every time someone comes in the shop it’s so clean. We’re friendly to everybody, it doesn’t make any difference we just do what we do.”
He continued: “It’s a sweet heaven for sweet lovers. It’s good quality, people recognise it and say I’ve not had that for ages.”
He said a win would put both the shop and Leyland on the map.
“It would be great,” he said. “That’s why we opened a shop in Leyland - it’s a nice little town. We appreciate it, we like that community thing, we always take part in festivals and charities.”
Mr Ali said he was delighted to have received from South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy, wishing the shop all the best.
The North west finalists are: TJ’s Dessert Bar, Chester Road, Cheshire - Desserts; J’s Chicken & Pizza, Claremont Road, Manchester - Chicken; Grilled Hotspot, Outwood Road, Radcliffe - Burgers; Brunch, Greenes Road, Whiston - Breakfast (2017 winner) and Safia’s Dream Desserts - Desserts.
The BTAs, which are run in association with Just Eat (www.just-eat.co.uk), a leading global marketplace for online food delivery, are all about celebrating and recognising the small and often family-run businesses that work tirelessly to serve the nation’s favourite takeaways.
A panel of judges will review the results and identify the 12 regional winners and the overall victor for Best Takeaway in Britain.
Graham Corfield said: “Making it to the list of the top five takeaways in the North West is a great achievement as it means customers believe they are providing great food and excellent customer service. With competition at such a high, it’s going to be a difficult choice picking a worthy winner.“
In total, 16 coveted awards will be presented. The Best Takeaway in each of the 12 regions and winners of the Judges’ Awards will receive £1,000 and free sign up to Just Eat, or their sign-up fee returned if they are already a partner. One of the regional winners will then go on to be awarded Best Takeaway in Britain and receive a further cheque for £5,000.
Brunch in Whiston, took home Best Takeaway in North West last year, securing a hat trick after winning the award for the third year in a row.