Curry boss hits out at balti ban
Birmingham's bid to stop the famous balti being sold outside the city has angered the couple who kick-started a Black Country balti belt.
The city council wants to protect the dish's name to help restaurants in what it claims is the birthplace of the balti – and says it has the same right as the makers of Champagne, in France, and Wensleydale cheese in Yorkshire.
But the move to trademark the name has been branded "absurd" by Dave and Lin Homer, both aged 56, who run a warehouse in Dudley called Mister Daves.
They deliver frozen baltis to restaurants, pubs and shops up and down the country, and export the exotic dish to ex-pats in Majorca, France and Spain.
Mr Homer was the first to open a balti house in Lye 25 years ago. Set up in a small cafe, Mister Daves soon began attracting thousands of diners from around the region and led to a balti boom in Lye High Street.
He and his wife went on to open another three restaurants in Kingswinford, Telford and Worcester, which have now closed.
But the curry king now employs his older brother Alan, 61, 26-year-old son Richard, and two other staff at his factory in Parkway Road to prepare and freeze the Bostin' Baltis he has been cooking for years outside Birmingham. He hit out at the plans to restrict the balti to Birmingham.
"It's like trying to register the name saucepan and saying you can't use it to cook at home because I have got the rights on it.
"Baltis are so widespread now. The council seems to think it has a God-given right to the name balti. This is absolutely absurd."
Mr Homer, a self-confessed curry fanatic eating up to two a day, learned to make the dish from a restaurant chef in Sparkhill and gave up his jobs as a telephone engineer and DJ to open his restaurant.
The first ever Balti is thought to have been created by immigrants from Kashmir in Sparkhill in the 1970s.
Councils can apply to the European Union to protect the origin of food if it is produced, processed and prepared in a geographical area using recognised know-how.
Birmingham says it wants to promote the city regionally, nationally and internationally.
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