The US ambassador to the UK likened City Park to a "great big curry pot" as he cooked an old family recipe to officially open the fifth World Curry Festival in Bradford today.

Former internet pioneer Matthew Barzun took to the stage with Texan chef Anita Jaisinghani to recreate 'Mother's Curry Sauce,' a dish originally cooked by his grandmother in Louisville, Kentucky, where he grew up.

The culinary masterclass was the first of many over the three-day festival, which also includes various pop-up restaurants and food stalls, professional cooking schools and demonstrations, a competition to find the best Junior Curry Chef, and poetry and drama performances.

"Cooking is not a normal part of daily ambassador duties, but that really brought back childhood memories," said Mr Barzun.

"I think events like this are incredibly important in bringing all the communities that exist in these wonderful diverse places together, and as we stand here, it's almost like a great big curry pot.

"We're all thrown together from different places, and we're making something special."

As well as officially opening the Curry Festival, Mr Barzun also met members of Bradford Council and spoke to students at the University of Bradford and Belle Vue Boys' School, emphasising it was important to travel beyond his Winfield House base in London to promote the "special" relationship between the US and UK.

"Talent tends to be distributed quite evenly, attention and opportunity less so," he said. "You have people like Zulfi here, who has built something amazing in the last five years.

"There are interesting people doing interesting things all across the UK, and my job is US ambassador to the UK, not just to London, so getting to other places is not only a very important thing to do, it's incredibly enjoyable."

Zulfi Karim, founder of the World Curry Festival, said the Ambassador's visit had got the event off to a "great" start.

"We are the World Curry Festival so we needed to bring the world to Bradford, and I think the US ambassador being here today, plus the calibre of chefs we are able to attract from all over the globe, has conquered that ambition," he said.

For a full programme of the festival, which runs until Sunday, visit