Get ready - start cooking!

The Great British Bake Off may have finished for another year but there’s another enthralling culinary clash on the way – the Birmingham Press Club’s very own Curry Cook Off Challenge!

Five teams, one captained by Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey and the others by some of the region’s leading journalists and food writers, will be creating their finest dish in a bid to be crowned Curry Kings of 2016.

So why not come along to cheer on your favourites, enjoy a fabulous Indian finger buffet and take part in a “spicy” quiz before battle commences? Space is limited, however, so please email Press Club board member Anita Sharma-James at to confirm your attendance.

The event, on Thursday 17 November, is being hosted by Harborne Food School, which is based within the Grade II listed Clock Tower building on Harborne High Street. And the price of a ticket – just £5, payable on the door.

Nutritionist Shaleen Meelu and former PriceWaterhouse director Robert Smith launched Harborne Food School in 2015 and today it offers a diverse range of cookery classes and community food events.

Shaleen said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming Press Club members to what I am sure will be a fun and entertaining evening.”

The evening is being organised by Indian chef and author Anita Sharma-James, who will also provide inspiration to the contestants by offering expert advice in the form of a short cookery demonstration prior to the Cook Off Challenge.

Anita, a former medical research scientist who set up her own cookery school seven years ago, said: “Cooking is a fun and creative experience and continues to be more and more popular – thanks to the wealth of cookery programmes now on TV.”

Current trophy holder Llewela (“I cut the onions”) Bailey, who had food critics Paul Fulford and Richard McComb in her winning team, will be determined to hold onto the crown. But they will be fiercely challenged by “Lamb’s Lovelies” – a team of “culinary giants” put together by Press Club vice-president, John Lamb.

John, who heads the Press & PR team at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “I was bitterly disappointed at being pipped at the post last time. But I am sure there will be a different outcome to this year’s challenge.

“I will be revealing the names of my team-mates in a short while. But rest assured we’re out to win,” he said.

The event starts at 7 pm and judging is expected around 9-9.30 pm.