Monday Jan 20, 2020
LONDON: The director of a British Asian restaurant that hosted Prince William and Kate Middleton has said that royal couple are "in love with Pakistan" and kept gushing about their recent memorable visit to the South Asian country.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the restaurant MyLahore in Bradford where they were guided by Ishfaq Farooq and his brothers. The visit by the royal couple to the British Asian restaurant, which takes inspiration from Lahore’s famous foods, came three months after the royal couple’s visit to Pakistan which made headlines in both countries.
The royal couple chose Farooq’s family restaurant due to its brand name and its association with Pakistan’s food capital, and its local fame for serving authentic Pakistani food.
British Pakistani boxer Amir Khan also joined Ishfaq Farooq, his brothers and the staff to welcome the royal couple and their entourage.
During their visit to MyLahore, Prince William and Kate enjoyed making mango and kulfi milkshakes. The royal couple also met students from Bradford College on a kitchen apprenticeship scheme at the restaurant and attended a meeting with local Muslim women representatives.
Speaking to Geo News, Farooq said “the visit by Prince William and Kate Middleton was a brilliant experience for us. We were amazed to find out so much about Pakistan from them. Kate Middleton told us how she loved Pakistani people, culture and food. She was clearly missing the time spent in Pakistan.”
Farooq added that Prince William said he loved Pakistan in the same way his late mother, Princess Diana, loved the country and it’s people.
“The Prince said the people of Pakistan are amazing and they received a great hospitality and love from the people during their busy tour of the country in October last year,” Farooq said.
Operations director Farooq also said the royal couple also wanted to see the restaurant’s kitchen and other areas.
“They took a keen interest in how we cooked food and what we cooked. They went through the menu and then decided to make mango and kulfi milkshakes.
"The couple said they had experienced mango and kulfi milkshakes in Pakistan as well,” he said.
According to the restaurateur, Prince William also asked about the origin of the ingredients used in their food.
“He already knew a lot about the ingredients used in Pakistani, Asian food. We told the couple that we take pride in the fact that we take inspiration from Lahore, known as the food capital of Pakistan, and we are proud carriers of the banner Lahore.”
After making milkshakes at the ground floor area, the couple were taken to the private banquet upstairs where they tried Pakistani dishes.
“Kate met my daughter and held her in her arms. She discussed how parents should always give time to their kids," said Farooq.
"William and Kate revealed they always try to eat a family meal together at night despite their busy schedule. We talked about families and giving time to your kids. Every household has personal stuff going on but with celebrities it's just showcased,” he added.
Farooq said that the royal couple believed in strong family values and unity of the family structure. They were appreciative of the family values and how important it was to have strong ties.
Ishfaq is the youngest son of Mohammed Farooq, a first generation immigrant from Pakistan who moved to the UK in pursuit of a better life.
Mr Farooq spent his days as a labourer in the local mills. He then became a bus driver until his late retirement. From humble beginnings, Ishfaq and his brothers went on to become successful entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry.
Mohammad Mahroof, Mahfooz Farooq, Shakoor Ahmed, Ghafoor Farooq and Asghar Ali started from a little town called Mirfield in Yorkshire, where all the family worked together in a restaurant called Kashmir given to them by their parents. They opened the restaurant in Bradford called MyLahore taking inspiration from the Pakistani city, Lahore.
“MyLahore is rooted in Yorkshire in a world of small kitchens yet huge hearts, where families tuck into everything from samosas to shepherd’s pie, and karahis to cornflake tarts – it’s very British," said Farooq.