Broadcaster Chris Moyles was cooking up a curry on the radio as I travelled to Zaara’s. The Leeds-born presenter of Radio 1’s breakfast show appeared under pressure to prepare the meal in time for his next broadcast.

Arriving at Zaara’s – one of Shipley’s newest Indian restaurants, which has a mention in the Michelin Guide – I suggested that owner Harry Khinda gets in touch with some tips.

“Absolutely!” he beamed and disappeared briefly into the kitchen.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he made that call to the radio station. Harry has already entertained the crew of BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow when they filmed the programme at Saltaire’s Victoria Hall in April. The mention in the revered Michelin Guide has brought lots of media interest to Harry’s door – and what a stylish one it is.

Behind the glass frontage, elegant high-backed chairs and sleek tables are neatly arranged on polished wood floors within a stylish colour palette of chocolate brown and orange.

It’s a fashionable place. Harry’s eye for detail and interest in interior design comes from his property renovating experience. He tells me he’s quite entrepreneur. Harry was working in the financial sector but dreamed of opening his own restaurant. He was driving along Bradford Road through Shipley when he spotted an empty, substantial shop unit ripe for renovation. “I made enquiries with the shop next door. They pointed me in the right direction,” says Harry.

He knew setting up a restaurant from scratch in a district already saturated with Asian cuisine wouldn’t be easy but Harry was determined that Zaara’s wouldn’t be just another Indian restaurant.

He wanted to bring the food he and his mother, Jasvinder, had always prepared for their family, using fresh ingredients, to the palettes of discerning diners.

As diners, we generally have become more conscious of the miles that produce travels to reach our plates and, with more people eager to grow their own produce and the demand for allotments increasing, the interest in food is great.

Sticking to the principles Harry and Jasvinder, who inspired his interest in food, firmly believe in, they knew they couldn’t go wrong.

Their menu comprises well-loved meals they cook to perfection and they regularly experiment with tastes. “The food is based on myself and my mum’s principles,” said Harry. “To sum it up, we buy and cook all the food Indian people eat at home. We do wholesome, natural, Indian food but we don’t use a lot of oils or fats or food colourings. Everything is fresh, our veg is fresh from the market on a morning.”

One of Zaara’s best-selling dishes is the sweet samosas – a Khinda family favourite. “Who would have thought of sweet samosas, but why not? All it is is pastry with a sweet filling inside, and we sell so much of it.”

Adapting recipes is a home-grown skill. Harry recalls that when his parents came over to Bradford from India in the 1960s after his father secured work in Yorkshire’s steel industry, they often experimented with traditional Western ingredients. “They had to adapt a little bit, especially with food and what they found was that for ages they couldn’t turn their eating habits to Western food so they gradually started to experiment with non-Indian type food. The first thing they tried – and it wasn’t just our family, lots of Asian families did this – was making a curry out of eggs. Then somebody suggested adding baked beans to it. Eggs and baked bean curry is the original East meets West fusion food!” smiles Harry.

He tells me his family still cook the dish occasionally although, he says, he doesn’t have any intentions to put it on the menu at Zaara’s!

Harry’s idea is to produce all the fresh ingredients people need to prepare their own curries and he is currently in talks with a local supermarket.

“I want to build this into a food emporium and we are already doing external catering for Indian weddings,” said the father of two young sons.

On the back of all that, he’s just steered his business through the worst recession in Britain for six decades. “It’s been a phenomenal ride,” said the 38-year-old. “A lot of people open a restaurant and say the hard work is done and people will come through the door but it doesn’t work like that. You have to really get your food sorted out, make sure it is 100 per cent spot on and do things to get people into the restaurant. I have done all kinds of things, I’ve rallied around and posted menus through letterboxes in snow and rain – you have to do it.”

The Michelin Guide mention and being highly commended in the Parliament competition, the Veetee Tiffin Cup – nominated by MPs – is testimony to the hard graft Harry has put into this place since opening in 2007.

He got the Michelin mention after three visits. “I went to buy the guide in January and was over the moon. Three years of hard work, running around and giving up a good job was finally paying off,” he said.

“It’s fantastic for Bradford as well to say the city has a restaurant in the Michelin Guide.”

Harry followed his dream and he and his family are now reaping the benefits. “I gave up a career working in financial services because I was really passionate about food – I always have been,” he said. “I firmly believe if you want something it will happen if you work hard.”

  • For more information call Zaara’s on (01274) 588114.