Curry chef Khaled Miah beat off some red hot competition to win the chance to prepare a feast for the Bangladesh cricket team on their trip North today.
The tourists start their second Test match at Durham County's Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street and sponsors npower invited curry restaurants to celebrate the first tour of Britain by Bangladesh.
Entrants from as far afield as London, Winchester and Edinburgh competed with some of the North-East's finest restaurants, including The Valley, Corbridge, Himalaya, Chester-le-Street and The Valley Junction 397 in Jesmond, Newcastle, for the honour of catering for the visiting team.
A panel of judges including former England cricketing stars Mike Gatting and David Gower, restaurateur Daraz Aziz and Bangladeshi cricketers Enamual Haque junior and Rajin Saleh, tasted the various dishes on offer at the Riverside yesterday.
But it was Khaled, 28, from the Vujon Restaurant in Queen Street on Newcastle Quayside, who came out on top.
Judges were hit for six by his fish and spinach tasters, (saag mach) followed by a delicious mint lamb and garlic curry.
Khaled, chef at the Vujon for seven years, said he was "delighted and honoured" to prepare a meal for the visiting cricketers.
His success also qualifies him to enter the 2006 International Indian Chef of the Year competition.
Mr Azaz said: "Bangladesh food has come on leaps and bounds since the first restaurants opened in the 70s. It has now been voted Britain's favourite dish."
Former England captain Gatting said: "I am a huge curry fan. It was a very difficult choice to make but the Vujon won on points."
A large proportion of the North-East's estimated Bangladeshi population of 6,000 is expected to attend the Test, which is scheduled to last five days.
It is only the second Test match to be held at The Riverside and marketing manager Andy Jarvis said: "On Saturday during the breaks in play there will be displays of dancing and music from the local Bangladesh community, which will add to the sense of occasion. We are hoping for a large turn-out of visiting supporters."
Page 2: Riverside expecting sell-out crowds for Test
Riverside expecting sell-out crowds for Test
Tickets have been selling well for only the second Test match in the history of Chester-le-Street's Riverside ground.
A sell-out crowd of around 10,000 is expected tomorrow for the second day of play.
It is two years since the ground beside the north bank of the River Wear became the first "new" Test venue for 101 years, when England hosted Zimbabwe, and just 10 years since the picturesque ground, which boasts a stunning backdrop of Lumley Castle, began hosting first class county cricket.
The Riverside has joined Edgbaston in Birmingham, Lord's and The Oval in London, Old Trafford in Manchester, Trent Bridge in Nottingham, and Headingley in Leeds as English Test match venues.
Andy Jarvis, marketing manager for Durham CCC, said: "There is nothing like a Test Match. It is a special occasion and we have been waiting for this ever since the last Test Match we hosted in June 2003.
"Tickets are selling very well but we are keeping 200 available, including junior tickets at £5, to sell on each match day.
The ticket office opens at 9am each day and play is due to start at 11am. England are hot favourites to win after a crushing victory in last week's first Test at Lord's.