A Burnley restaurant owner is giving his teenage son a taste of the family business in the hope he brings in some fresh ideas.
Adnan Ali (13), son of Usha owner Ibby Ali, has been cooking up a storm at the Rossendale Road restaurant on Sundays after asking his dad if he could help out on Christmas Day.
The Sir John Thursby Community College pupil said: “On Christmas Day I asked my dad if I could come and help him at Usha as I knew they were fully booked.
“My first day went very well. The best bit was the drive back home with me sitting next to dad thinking I’ve done a bit to help him. And dad just looking at me, full of pride. It made my day. I love my dad.
“I enjoy the lovely experience that I am having. I enjoy interacting with the customers and learning new things every day.”
Dad-of-five Ibby (42) said he was proud of Adnan for offering to help out and feels the experience has had a positive impact on the youngster.
“On Christmas Day he was handing out desserts, getting a feel for the place. He actually made £75 in tips but he gave them back because he said he wasn’t doing it for the money.
“What I have noticed is that it has had a positive impact on his home life. He is more keen to help out around the house now which is nice. It has given him motivation and a real sense of responsibility.”
Adnan now comes into Usha every Sunday for three to four hours. He doesn’t get paid but helps serve desserts, sets tables and talks to the customers.
Ibby wants Adnan to continue learning the trade and if he enjoys it, help infuse a freshness into a restaurant industry he believes is going stale.
“Nobody wants to work in the Indian restaurant sector anymore. There is nobody coming through the ranks. Cooking is a hard job. Your busiest times are Friday, Saturday, Sunday; so you have no weekend or nightlife. It is hard.
“I want the younger generation, the likes of Adnan, to come in and change things. We’re stuck with this system, there is no flexibility. Everyone is working all the time and there has to be a better way. I am willing to listen to new ideas and it would be great if they came from my son.
“Usha has given me everything in life. I would love Adnan to take it over in the future rather than just have a stake in it. That is why I am glad he is here now learning.
“I love my job and I hope that it is something Adnan wants to get into but I will support him in whatever he chooses.”