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May 15, 2011

I’m Aftab Rahman – restaurateur, chef, father, Bangladeshi, brother, husband, adopted Brummie, charity patron, gardener, photographer.

I wanted to start a blog to mark the momentous occasion of opening my first solo restaurant project, and to let people know the inspiration behind the new venture.

Food is in my blood – I’ve worked in the catering trade since I was a teenager, and gone from waiter to manager to joint restaurant owner (of Mint restaurant) … and learned a heck of a lot along the way.    

But my biggest inspiration is my Bangladeshi roots, and it’s where I draw so many of the ideas for my cooking.  As is traditional, as a male in the family I wasn’t particularly encouraged to cook at home as a child.   But as my love of food has grown, I now have a regular hotline to my sisters (and my sisters-in-law) for tips and recipes from our childhoods. 

Bangladeshi food is incredibly diverse– from beautiful, aromatic kormas to welcome a prospective son-in-law to the family, to vibrant, colourful street food in markets across the length and breadth of the country.

My new venture – The Bay Leaf – will be based at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, and will draw on the incredible energy and creativity in this part of the city.  Birmingham is one of the most diverse cities in the UK and has the youngest population in Europe.  I think my vision for Bay Leaf – to be a place where people connect, eat, share and learn – fits in so well here. 

From fusion breakfasts, to street food, to cookery demonstrations, to connections with local social enterprises and businesses, my plans are ambitious and exciting.

I will use this blog to update on new initiatives, tell stories about the inspiration behind my food , share recipes and gather feedback and new ideas.

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