The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 15 July 2011

Mafiz Ali commissioned to cater for business function in Dubai

Celebrity TV chef Mafiz Ali is co-owner and head chef at Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant in the small picturesque village of Minishant in South Ayrshire.

But Mafiz’s reputation as a purveyor of Indian cuisine of the highest quality has spread over the years throughout the world.

And this week Mafiz has been chosen to fly out and personally cater for a special function in Dubai hosted by an international businessman.

Mustafa Azim is a retired airline pilot who now owns a company breaking up old aeroplanes worldwide and recycling the aluminium.

The company has just secured a deal to break 23 Boeing 747s in Riyadh, and to mark the occasion, Mr Azim decided to entertain around a dozen of his clients with a celebratory dinner.

He chose Mafiz Ali to do the catering having heard that former Prime Minister John Major and Cliff Richard are amongst many celebrity fans of his cuisine.

Mafiz Ali has already enjoyed a busy and successful first six months of 2011.

He has made two guest appearances on STV’s popular early evening television programme “The Hour” with regular hosts Stephen Jardine and Michelle McManus.

The previous month, Mafiz Ali hosted a very successful luncheon meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, which further enhanced his already growing reputation amongst discerning diners in the local business community.

He has also already this year put on successful special menus to celebrate Mother’s Day, the Bangladeshi New Year and the Royal Wedding.

And finally, Mafiz has extended the opening hours of Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant, which is now open from 12 noon 10.30pm every day.

And now he is introducing a Tandoori Barbecue, at which customers can dine al fresco (weather permitting!) in a family-friendly atmosphere with a tree-house for the kids and ample parking.

There will be further exciting developments to be announced during the course of the rest of the year which will cement Ayr Spice’s place as one of the top fine dining experiences in South West Scotland.


Mafiz climbed the ladder to fame when he won a chef of the year award in 1998 and, almost immediately, added one for exceptional hygiene and cleanliness. Newly crowned at Westminster, he was commissioned by the then prime minister, John Major to supply a banquet for his 50th birthday at Number 10 Downing Street.

A replica banquet was then ordered by one of the distinguished guests and sent to New York city. Since then he has sent food elsewhere in the USA and to Japan and Australia in what must be an almost uniquely international takeaway service! He has also catered for numerous celebrities from the world of entertainment and some have vowed to come to his restaurant while they are in Scotland on tour.

It is not widely known that 92% of all “Indian” restaurants in the UK are in fact Bangladeshi, and it was to promote such eating houses and reward young chefs by recognising their talents, that Mafiz founded the “British Bangladeshi National Curry awards” at the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, also in 1998.

Mafiz Ali has been closely associated with charities, notably when he entered the Guinness Book of Records with 4.5 tons of chicken korma, which was then eaten at a charity event. Because of the enormous quantities involved he had to seek the advice of a professional engineer for the technical realisation of the project.

No stranger to TV, Mafiz has been invited to return to STV for further programmes in the future. Channel 4, Big Breakfast TV and several others including Bangladeshi TV on which he has his own programme, number among the other stations for whom he has appeared, and he has made double that number of radio broadcasts, as well as contributing to many publications including the Times and Daily Mirror.

Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant
The Old Minishant Memorial Church
22 Ayr Road
KA19 8EX

Tel: 01292 441413

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Ladyboys of Bangkok return to Citadel Leisure Centre in Ayr

The internationally acclaimed Ladyboys of Bangkok make a triumphant return to Ayr’s Citadel Leisure Centre on 21 July for a one-night performance of their latest cabaret extravaganza “Fur Coats and French Knickers”.

Sixteen of the world’s most beautiful ladyboys, all recruited from a Thai nightclub, are touring the UK, starring in a glitzy and glamorous evening of captivating entertainment.

With 400 new and flamboyant costumes, immaculate make-up and show stopping choreography this is a truly unique production and should not be missed – especially by anyone who has ever mimed a song into a hairbrush!

It’s a flamboyant feast, combining the heady spice of Bangkok's exotic nightlife with the glamorous showgirl appeal of a Las Vegas cabaret.

Since their debut, 13 years ago in the Edinburgh Festival, the Ladyboys from Bangkok have been seen by over 1 million people.

This spectacular and flamboyant show is performed by 16 of the world’s most beautiful showgirls, every single one of them a Thai male, in a captivating and funny revue show – you won’t believe your eyes.

Executive producer Carol Gandey said: “We’re delighted to bring the show back to the UK for a 13th successive year and we’re really looking forward to wowing the audience in Ayr.

“During our 2010 tour there was a large increase in the number of men accompanying their wives or partners to the show and we hope to see this trend continue at the Citadel Leisure Centre. It really is a show with something to offer men and women.

Director Phillip Gandey commented: “The Lady Boys of Bangkok occupies a unique position in the world of entertainment. When we staged the first show in Edinburgh 13 years ago, there were those who said it had no future.

“Yet each year our audiences continue to grow and our productions become more ambitious.

“Laughter is a vital element in every show. Our audiences want a good night out – a night where they can really let go and enjoy themselves. That’s exactly what’s on offer at the Citadel.

Last year we enjoyed a full house there and we’re confident people will flock to the show again on 21 July.”

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Tourism and Leisure said: “I’m thrilled the Ladyboys of Bangkok are coming back to Ayr with their outstanding new production, once again blending dance, song and cabaret in a seamless, sensational show.

“South Ayrshire Council is committed to bringing a wide ranging and varied programme of entertainment from all over the world to the area – and the fabulous Ladyboys of Bangkok will not disappoint!

She concluded: “It’s the show everyone is talking about and promises to be a sell-out once more, so book early and make sure you see this sparkling, spectacular performance!”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Scottish housing market summer holiday comes early this year

Scottish home buyers appeared to have taken an early holiday as demand for property disappeared in June, ahead of the usual summer slow down of the housing market in July and August says the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey.

[Pictured: RICS Scotland director Graeme Hartley.]

June had fewer buyer enquiries than any other month this year. The number of agreed sales also dipped in June. Traditionally June remains a busy time for buyers and sellers and it is July and August which are quieter due to holidays. Sellers however did not take a ‘holiday’ and property continued to go on the market in Scotland. The high number of properties on the market but low number of purchasers puts buyers in a strong negotiating position.

However, chartered surveyors note that because the market remains difficult to access, the only buyers who can really be considered serious are those who have already sold their property, or have a mortgage agreement in place.

Chartered surveyors say that properties are still selling, but only if priced realistically. They also report that homes in good condition are selling more easily than property requiring work and that 25% of sellers are improving their property before having the Home Report carried out to give them the best possible chance of selling. (Home Reports are required by law for the majority of properties before going on the market.)

House prices continued to slip across the UK with London the only area immune. In Scotland 25% of surveyors said prices had fallen, 71% said they had stayed the same and just 4% said they had risen.

Commenting, RICS Scotland director Graeme Hartley said: “The traditional ‘summer holiday’ for the housing market came early for Scotland with fewer buyers around and less sales. But because property is still coming on the market, buyers are in a good position to negotiate. With continued uncertainty over the jobs market and the economy, this subdued picture is set to continue.”

RICS housing market survey is the longest running monthly survey of house prices in the UK, collecting data since January 1978. The survey is cited by the Bank of England's monetary policy committee at its monthly interest rate setting meetings.

About RICS Scotland

RICS Scotland is a national association of RICS. RICS Scotland has over 11,000 members. Managed from its offices in Edinburgh the focus of RICS Scotland is to develop, maintain, uphold and promote the standards, knowledge and skills of its members always acting in the public interest. RICS Scotland enjoys a degree of autonomy due to differences in Scottish Law and practice. It holds a significant role within the professional and business community in Scotland, working with central and local government and educational institutions in Scotland.

Monday, 11 July 2011

South Ayrshire Council takes next steps to re-open Gaiety Theatre

Plans to begin the reopening of the Gaiety Theatre before the end of the year have received a further boost as South Ayrshire Council approved a loan of £50,000 for Ayr Gaiety Partnership and agreed to finalise a lease agreement for the iconic Ayr theatre.

The interest-free loan to Ayr Gaiety Partnership – the Council’s partner in the project to reopen the Gaiety – will provide working capital to support the reopening of the cafe/bar in the autumn and will be repaid over five years, with the first year payment-free.

[An artist’s impression of the new cafe/bar, provided courtesy of architects The McLennan Partnership.]

Improvement works are set to get underway at the theatre later this month to deliver a new fully functioning cafe/bar and box office as the first stage in reopening the theatre.

Opening in the autumn, this will create a flexible facility that can be used for stand-alone events in a fabulous, modern and purpose-built space as well as providing bar facilities for theatre nights.

Alongside this, discussions will continue to finalise the details of the lease agreement for the theatre building with Councillors agreeing that the partnership can lease the building at a cost of £1 per year, with the option to purchase the property for £1 being built into the lease.

The signing of the lease will be an important element in progressing applications for further external funding for the theatre.

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: “There is a hive of activity underway to reopen the Gaiety and the approval of the loan and the steps to finalise the lease are another milestone on that journey.

“One of the key challenges we face in reopening the Gaiety is to ensure it can be sustained and the investment provided by the loan will help the cafe/bar achieve just that. I am also delighted we are moving closer to finalising the lease of the building to the Partnership, which will act as a symbolic and historic handover, showing how far we have come.

“The Gaiety Theatre will reopen and reinvigorate arts and culture in this area and this now takes us closer to that becoming a reality.”

Ian Welsh, Chair of the Ayr Gaiety Partnership, added: “Getting the works underway, opening the cafe/bar and getting the keys – as it were – have been at the forefront of our initial ambitions, so this is a major step forward.

“And it’s only the start of the continuing journey to see the theatre fully operational and delivering a quality events programme for residents and visitors alike.

“That’s our ultimate aim and we’ll continue to do all we can to make it happen.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.