Asma Khan, Zoya Akhtar bag prestigious India UK Achievers Honours by NISAU-UK

Rupanjana Dutta Tuesday 05th March 2024 07:50 EST

Celebrated chef and cookbook author Asma Khan won an award in the art and culture sector at the prestigious India UK Achievers Honours organised by NISAU, UK’s largest students’ union for Indians. 

Asma runs the famous Indian restaurant Darjeeling Express in London, which boasts of an all women kitchen. She was born into a royal family from Aligarh and grew up in Kolkata with two siblings. 

Asma has also become one of the first to start pre-cooked ready-made meals under her own name, to be distributed through Ocado, one of UK’s largest online supermarkets. The packaged ready meals cooked using Asma’s exclusive recipes are being prepared in the Bombay Halwa Limited (BHL) kitchen in Southall, which was started by the late Lord Gulam Noon, famously known as the ‘curry king’. 

Lord Noon was a pioneer of ready-meals and a renowned philanthropist. Currently Lord Noon’s daughter Zeenat Noon Harnal remains BHL’s Chairwoman. 

Another award recipient at the India UK Achievers Honours was film director and screenwriter Zoya Akhtar, who also participated in the day long education conference that was organised by NISAU UK. 


“Achievers Honours show the strong outcomes that can arise through the UK-India partnership”: PM Sunak 


The Achievers Honours list is highly contested awards. It features former or current Indian students in the UK who have shown remarkable excellence in their fields and are an inspiration for those who aspire to follow their path. 

Last year’s award recipients included actor Parineeti Chopra and MP Raghav Chadha who met at these awards for the first time, fell in love and got married thereafter. 

Sanam Arora, Chair of the NISAU UK, who has conceptualised and led the delivery of the Achievers Honours said, “The Achievers Honours are a labour of love, delivered by passionate volunteers and enabled by a supportive ecosystem spanning governmental and non-governmental organisations.”

“These achievers are not just recipients of a prestigious honour; they are the embodiment of the profound transformation that education and cross-cultural experiences can engender in our societies,” added Arora who is also a commissioner of the UK International Higher Education Commission.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a message to the award said, “First I would like to thank you for all that you are doing to champion the special UK-India partnership.

“I am pleased to see that for the second year, you are showcasing exceptional Indian talent that has been developed in the UK.

“I am extremely proud of the UK-India partnership and the 2023 Achievers Honours highlights the strong outcomes that can arise through partnership.”

Lord Bilimoria said, “The progress and achievements of Indian students in the UK over the past year have been nothing short of remarkable. Their growing presence in the UK's universities is a testament to the enduring appeal of British education and the opportunities it offers. As we look to the future, I am confident that the relationship between the UK and India, forged through education, will continue to flourish, benefiting both our countries in innumerable ways.”

The India UK Achievers Honours 2024 was launched in the UK Parliament which was attended by Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Minister, International Trade, UK; Rt Hon Lord Jo Johnson, former UK Universities Minister, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Co-Chair of the International Students APPG and Chancellor of the University of Birmingham; Virendra Sharma MP for Ealing Southall, Chair of the Indo-British APPG; Navendu Mishra MP for Stockport; Simon Emmett, Chief Executive Officer, IDP; David Pilsbury, Chief Development Officer, Oxford; Sandy Bhangal of ETS Global and Sanam Arora, Chairperson, NISAU. 

The session was moderated by Ruhi Khan, Editor, Living Bridge- an annual souvenir magazine, launched and distributed at the awards.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter