Curry innovator Peter Grove will be much missed

Peter Grove, a former member of our Association’s committee in the 1990s and early 2000s, has died.

Peter died suddenly on June 15 while on holiday on Gran Canaria. He was 74.

Grove was unique among members of the SJA in being the author of a sci-fi novel and the founder of National Curry Week, a reflection of his work in the travel and hospitality media sector.

Indeed, Peter Grove’s varied media work saw him live life to the full.

Colleen, his wife of 30 years, recalls him saying recently, “I have escaped a rebel camp in Rhodesia; gambled with Bedouins in the Sahara; been shot at on the Knife Edge Bridge at Victoria Falls; surrounded by sharks on the Great Barrier Reef; flown in a light plane with a mad ex-RAF pilot under Victoria Falls; attacked by elephants in Luangwa National Park, Zambia; lost, alone, in the bush at night in Central Africa; bitten by a snake in Malawi; been mistaken for Prince Charles in Tokyo and Bobby Moore in Mexico; swum with Flipper in Florida; windsurfed in shark-infested waters in Florida; met mob gangsters in Miami; hidden from police in Mexico and Dom Mintoff’s security people in Malta; toured Britain in a double decker curry bus and been to major sporting events all over the world – I wonder what’s next?”

Peter Grove: varied life in journalism and events
Peter Grove: varied life in journalism and events

Peter Grove was born in Hornchurch, Essex in 1942 he was educated Ilford County High School, Exeter University, then London School of Economics. In his youth he represented Essex, Southern Counties and England in swimming and Essex in water polo.

He started his working life as a statistician with the Union-Castle Shipping Line before moving into the travel sector, planning specialist tours such as West Ham in Europe and the England Football Supporters Club to Mexico World Cup. He then worked with BOAC/British Airways and several other airlines, travelling the world.

He ran his own travel company, creating The World Sports Supporters Club. He worked under Sir Rocco Forte on the fundraising committee for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, organising a round Britain Radio Luxemburg roadshow to raise money for the England teams.

In the 1960s he worked for ITV’s World of Sport, Daily Express and Daily Mail.  He edited All Sports International newspaper for 10 years and continued to edit the online version until his death.

His books included World of Sport Almanac and Sports Form Guide. He also wrote a sci-fi novel, The Levellers, and a series of children’s books entitled The Bornington Chronicles. His latest novel, A Plague of Paradise, was published in 2013.

Grove also edited a number of travel and food guides, including The Real Curry Restaurant Guide from 1990. He appeared regularly on radio and TV as an expert in ethnic food and drink.

He started the Best in Britain Awards (BIBA) for the Asian restaurant sector in 1992, National Curry Week (originally National Curry Day) in 1997 and Curry Capital of Britain in 1999. He worked with The Chartered Institute for Environmental Health for three years, running their National Curry Chef competition.

He was President of The Federation of Specialist Restaurants and founder of The Curry Tree Charitable Fund.

Peter’s widow, Colleen, said: “I can think of no better lasting tribute than to continue the work he started with National Curry Week and The Curry Capital of Britain. Their role in highlighting the contribution made to the wider community by the Asian restaurant industry was a message that was very dear to him.”

George Shaw, the CEO of restaurant marketing company Avocado Media said: “Peter was a lovely man and always great company.  No one did more for the industry in terms of promoting community relations, raising money and recognising the efforts of leading restaurants. He will be sadly missed.”

Steven Downes, the Secretary of the SJA, said today, “Peter Groves was a member of the SJA committee when I first joined, and his experience in sectors outside sport saw him provide good advice and insight into our organisation and staging of our events. Our thoughts are with Colleen and his family at this sad time.”

Peter is survived by four daughters, Samantha and Corrie from his first marriage and Stephanie and Madeline from his marriage to Colleen.