During the Covid-19, a Pakistani ‘foodpreneur’ achieved history by earning double awards from the Queen for his services to business and charity.
On the occasion of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Raja Suleman Raza, Chief Executive of the Spice Village, was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).
Raza’s non-profit organisation “Feeds the homeless and disadvantaged, uplifts communities via diversity and inclusion programmes,” according to the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services (QAVS) citation for Uplyft, situated in Croydon.
It is quite unusual for a person to obtain the Queen’s honours twice for services in separate fields.
The QAVS, which is similar to the MBE, is the highest honour offered to volunteer groups in the United Kingdom. It honours the outstanding effort that has been done by volunteer groups.
In the year 2000, Raza and his family relocated to London from Pakistan, where he began his profession as a cook in a Brixton restaurant. He has lived in South West London since 2004, running his family’s restaurant company with his elder brother and assisting the underprivileged people there.
In 2021, he was the CEO of a multi-branch restaurant business in London’s south and west selling Pakistani cuisine. He also dabbled in the event and hospitality industries.
Raza promotes Pakistani cuisine as a different category from Indian cuisine in the United Kingdom.