Council blows £47,000 on 4 hour curry caper

Tower Hamlets Council recently spent a cool £47,000 on the four hour ‘Taste of Brick Lane’ event to remind people that there are restaurants in Brick Lane.

£11,750 an hour.

Or £196 a minute.

Whichever number makes you wince less.

This information can be found in this response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on the Tower Hamlets council website.

Brick Lane – the golden mile for some

It’s likely a substantial part of the £47,000 was the appearance fee for celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott who opened the event.

For his fee of between £11,000 – £15,000 Ainsley walked up Brick Lane and tasted some curry.

Then he judged a competition. Here is some press blurb from him.

About the day, Ainsley Harriott said: “Everybody loves good food – and I love it even more when things start to get a bit hot and spicy! That’s why Brick Lane is one of my favourite places, for its great food and its wonderful mix of fashion and culture.”

And here is some press blurb from the person who thought this was £47,000 well spent.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “We are committing to supporting our local businesses and it is my priority to promote our vibrant town centres, markets and unique attractions like Brick Lane. I am delighted that Ainsley came to our borough on what was an enjoyable day for food lovers and families in Tower Hamlets, London and beyond.”

And here are some basic statistics about child poverty in Tower Hamlets

  • Tower Hamlets has the highest rate of child poverty in London
  • It is the second most deprived borough in London and the third most deprived borough nationally
  • 24,000 children in Tower Hamlets live in poverty.
  • 53 out of the 159 wards in Tower Hamlets are classified as deprived
  • Around one third of all children in poverty in Tower Hamlets are from families with four or more children.
  • Over half (54 percent) of all children in poverty live in couple families and the remaining 46 per cent live in lone parent families.

(Source: End Child Poverty  and 4in10)

But then the Mayor knows this. Sure the borough needs to be promoted – but £47,000? For four hours?

Why Ainsley?

Curious as to why they asked Ainsley Harriott to promote this event? We were. The FOI has this:

Q: Why was Ainsley Harriott chosen to head up this event?

A: Ainsley Harriott is a very well known celebrity chef with expertise in leading events of this nature.

Q: Was any consideration given to using a Bengali or Asian chef to head up this event?

A: The primary consideration was whether the chef would bring marketing benefit to the area and from the response on the day it is clear this was achieved.

Q: If so, why were they not chosen?

A: As above

Seems Mayor Lutfur doesn’t consider any of Tower Hamlets incredibly talented Bengali or Asian chefs was quite what was required.

Brick Lane means curry across the planet

Nothing against Ainsley, Love Wapping HQ is often fuelled by his East Indian Mulligatawny cup soup, but come on! It’s Brick Lane! Brick Lane means curry across the planet –  Bengali and Asian curry!

3 thoughts on “Council blows £47,000 on 4 hour curry caper

  1. Well said Paul. Perhaps after the toilet habits of bears some research is needed into the religious affiliations of The Pope and the Chief Rabbi.

    1. Great idea Paul, I am sure if the Mayor gets elected again we can expect to see teams of council funded researchers combing Wapping Woods for proof that bears do answer the call of nature where the trees grow tall.

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