Special delivery: Ex-pat flying favourite curry to southern France
A British ex-pat curry addict who was missing his favourite spicy meal has arranged for a takeaway to be delivered to France.
Pilot James Emery, 31, who lives in the Bordeaux area, has organised the long-distance delivery with Faz Ahmed, the manager of the Akash restaurant in Southsea, Hampshire.
A total of 89 meals, 70 side dishes, 75 portions of rice, 100 poppadoms and 10 servings of mango chutney were prepared and packed on to an aircraft for the one-off flight to Bordeaux.
Mr Emery and the restaurant teamed up with the Iroise Aero Formation, a professional flying school based in Brest, to use a six-seater Socata TBM700 aircraft, capable at flying 300mph, for the flight.
The aircraft departed from Solent Airport in Lee-On-The-Solent, formerly known as HMS Daedalus naval air station, for Saucats Airfield, south of Bordeaux, where the meals will be reheated and served to the group of 89 curry-lovers.
Mr Emery, an aviation English assessor for French trainee pilots, will be eating his favourite curry, a spicy chicken phall.
He said: "I am a chilli addict and an aviation geek so I thought I would combine my two hobbies to get my favourite meal delivered to me in France.
"I have been getting withdrawal symptoms, they do lots of good things in France but you just can't get a good curry."
He added: "I have been a loyal customer of the Akash for close to 20 years.
"Every time I popped in for a meal, I would complain about the bland and uninspiring version of Indian food we get in France.
"It was on one of these visits that Faz first floated the idea of delivering one to me at home in Bordeaux."
Mr Ahmed said: "We thought about it for a long time, he has been coming into the restaurant for 20 years joking that the curries are really bad in France and asking for me to deliver one to me.
"We have done nothing like this, our delivery radius is three to four miles and we are doing 500 miles so it is something to be proud of."
He added: "Anyone with lots of money could do this but we want to make it affordable so that anyone could take part."
The customers were able to order from a selection of meals including chicken tikka massala, lamb balti, Bengal naga chicken and vegetable paneer korai with a vegetable side and naan included in the £32 price.
It is not the first time The Akash has catered for ex-pats missing its food in France.
In 2014 Roy Buchan took a selection of food across to France by ferry for his family's Christmas Day lunch.