The top curry chefs in Barnet will be battling with the spices tonight, in the first step to becoming the best in the country.

Three challengers will be battling it out in the 2001 Barnet Curry Chef of the Year contest at Barnet College in Grahame Park Way, Colindale, at 4pm.

Haydoruzzaman Choudhury, of Friern Barnet restaurant New Arjun Tandoori, Abul Kalam of New Southgate's Curry Master and another Abul Kalam, from Taste of Nawab in Muswell Hill, will each have 60 minutes to conjure up a culinary masterpiece.

The competition is being organised by Barnet Council. Mayor Anita Campbell will be one of the lucky judges.

The winner will go onto a regional heat, and, if successful, onto the national final.