From Pakoras to the Palace for Blackpool’s MBE culinary queen
Nazir, Zera, Laila, Rishma and Natasha Remtulla, of Laila’s Fine Foods Ltd
From cooking homemade bhajias to running a multi-million pound company – Blackpool businesswoman Laila Remtulla’s achievements were today honoured by the Queen.
The owner and founder of Laila’s Fine Foods Ltd – an inspiration to aspiring businesswomen everywhere – has been awarded an MBE for services for food and drink in the New Year’s Honours List.
The entrepreneur started out selling home cooked bhajias to a deli after moving to the Fylde coast in the 1970s.
Laila now employs hundreds of people and her company, based in Bispham, is forecasted to turnover £18m in 2014.
Mrs Remtulla said: “I’m truly honoured and humbled by my accolade. It’s unbelievable.
“This country is full of opportunity and I’m so grateful to be part of this great nation.
“This shows that hard work pays off.”
Mrs Remtulla and husband Nazir moved from Tanzania to the UK in 1976, and 28 years ago she set about cooking up creations for her family in the kitchen of their new Lytham home.
After buying some “disappointing” bhajis and samosas from a nearby delicatessen Mrs Remtulla took in her own recipes and persuaded the owner to stock those instead.
She said: “My children were at school and the business began as something to keep me occupied.”
But cooking has always been in her blood – her father and grandfather were both chefs and two of her brothers are also chefs.
For 10 years the cooking business was juggled with family life, then in 1999 Nazir joined the business and within months it had secured its first national contract.
Earlier at Ismailimail: