Lockdown Bird Dust food enterprise flies high with a clutch of awards


Entrepreneur Hamza Qureshi is celebrating after his Bird Dust signature seasoning was named best cooking kit in the country.

Hamza, who runs White’s Gourmet Fried Chicken in Nottingham, launched his new range of chicken coatings after his ‘dark kitchen’ business took a hit during the Covid pandemic lockdowns.

In just over a year, the business has become a flying success – with a string of awards.

White’s Gourmet Fried Chicken Crunchy Bird Dust recently scooped the top title in the cooking sauce and kit category of the Great British Food Awards run by Great British Food magazine – earning itself a showcase on the national stage.

The company also won two gold stars for its Crunchy Bird Dust fried chicken coating and one gold star for its Panko Bird Dust fried chicken coating in the prestigious Great Taste Awards, which are regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the fine food world.

In addition, the Bird Dust Crunchy Fried Chicken Coating has just been awarded the title of Best Cooking Ingredient in the Quality Food Awards and was a runner-up in the Quality Food Awards 2021 Product of the Year category and Small Producer of the Year category.

The company has been flying high in recent months. As a result of demand, White’s Gourmet Fried Chicken has added new flavours to its range, introduced new re-branded packaging and has expanded into a unit at Lenton Business Centre on Lenton Boulevard to cope with sales.

Hamza said: “We always had great feedback about our fried chicken when we ran the dark kitchen and lockdown was the perfect time to bag up the secret and share it more widely across the UK, when people had more time to cook and were looking to recreate the restaurant experience at home. I couldn’t be more thrilled that our products have already won so many awards. It’s a real feather in our cap and a ringing endorsement for the quality and flavour of our products!”

The initial Bird Dust range of signature seasonings was launched last year and with the addition of new flavours recently, it now includes six options – Crunchy, Panko, Spicy Reaper, Smokin Chipotle, Jammin Jerk and Poppin Pakora. The packs are sold in more than 40 shops across the UK, in places as far afield as Dublin, Newcastle, Cardiff and London, as well as online via a webshop, Amazon and Ebay. They are available in a variety of sizes, including 1.2kg packs, which provide 25 to 30 servings. Hamza has also developed 22kg catering tubs for foodservice customers.

Local stockists include the Snobby Butcher in Sherwood, Mike Maloney Butchers and Bakers at the Engine Yard at Belvoir Castle, and Hafiz Supermarket in New Basford.

The Bird Dust range of coatings for chicken contain no e-numbers and no monosodium glutamate (MSG) and can be cooked in different ways, such as frying, baking or air frying, depending on the flavour selected. Although primarily designed for chicken, they are suitable for vegans and can also be used to coat plant-based options and meat alternatives, as well as fish – making them super versatile in any kitchen.