Liaqat Ali first opened the Qismat Restaurant on Elgin High Street almost 30 years ago and turned it into an enduring favourite with local people and visitors alike.
His work in establishing one of the most popular restaurant’s in the north of Scotland resulted in his being recognised at a ceremony in Glasgow on Monday. Mr Ali was presented with a cut glass statuette on what was his 56th birthday – and insisted that the honour was a complete surprise.
He told the P&J: “I had no idea I would be getting it – I think that they told my son just to make sure I was there.”
The restauranteur added that he was a little embarrassed when he had to stand up in front of 500 people to make an impromptu acceptance speech but admitted he was “chuffed” at the honour, adding: “I’ve now been in Elgin for 27 years and still love it here.”
Mr Ali first moved to Scotland from Pakistan as a 19-year-old in 1978.