SALEEM AKHTAR, the man who has built up an expanding chain of Asian restaurants across the region, is spicing up the Evening Press Business Awards.

As leader of a family business of eight restaurants and takeaways in York, Harrogate, Flaxton and Bradford, his ventures have already been showered with national accolades.

The Jinnah brand whose meals are infused with spices from Kashmir and Afghanistan, the Punjab and Persia and served in stunningly luxurious surroundings - usually multi-million pound building conversions - clinched two Best in Britain awards this January.

The Jinnah in Flaxton was put in the top 30 restaurants for speciality Asian cuisine in the UK and the group as a whole was recognised as the best in the country .

Now Saleem, who left school at 16, yet masterminded a growing commercial empire, has been entered in the Business Personality of the Year category, while also pitching for the Growth Business of the year accolade.

At 16 he worked in the family business, United Stores in Bradford, which supplied all the area's local trade, but, encouraged by his family, he launched his own catering career, establishing first the 45-cover Viceroy of India in York.