Monday, 17 September 2012

Menu Development 2013

Hi, I’m James Down, Sous Chef at Bistro L!VE Milton Keynes, this is my first Blog!

I have been with the company coming up to a year now.

This is an exciting time of year for me, I am looking forward to tackling a new year with the back ground knowledge of last. Also Christmas is soon approaching and our new September-November menu has just gone live. Click here…..

 We are into week two of our exciting new menu and its time for some of us to turn some of our attention to the development of the January and May menus for 2013!

The first step on this journey is to brain storm ideas within the team.
During this stage the ideas in Milton Keynes range from weird, weirder (Chris Pelham) to the wonderful. Once we have a list we break it down and discuss the pros and cons of each dish and also is it really “Bistro Live”.

Once we have ‘picked the bones’ of our ideas its time for the fun bit! We practise and experiment with the ideas in the kitchen for the first time.

The next step is deciding if we feel they are ready to “showcase” to our colleagues in Leicester and Nottingham.

Here are a few  dishes I think could make an appearance on our menu, with a few tweaks, of course….
  • Sausage Cassoulet
  • Pork loin topped with caramelised apple and stilton
  • Broccoli and red pepper lasagne

These are a few dishes we have tested recently and will be projecting at the showcase,

  • Roasted Vegetable tart
  • Mini Burger with tangy Tomato Sauce
  • Halloumi and Caramelised Onion Stack
  • Mini Sugared Doughnuts filled with custard and finished with raspberry dipping jam
  • Malteaser Cheesecake

This coming week is our Showcase cook off in the Leicester kitchen. The event brings the senior chefs of our business together to show off our ideas and promote for menu use, in this case our Jan-Apr and May-Sept menus.

This is often a great experience to see where everyone else has gone with the brief and their take on where Bistro Live should be heading! It goes with out saying it is also a little competitive.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Bistro L!VE September-November Menu Successfully Launched

Last week saw the successful launch of the new Bistro L!VE menu across its three sites.

After comprehensive menu training sessions in each site beforehand, the menu went L!VE on Friday 31st August where collectively we served over 1000 covers.

The menu will run from 31st August until 10th November and has an even split of summery dishes and winter warmers.

The most popular dishes by far at the weekend were the Cheesy Potato Cakes with sweet Chilli sauce, Chicken Liver Pate with caramelised onion chutney, Chicken Roulade with tomato & herb sauce and Beef Bourguignon (see below)…

We received some fantastic feedback from across the three sites which is very pleasing as so much work and effort goes into changing the menu and keeping in current and interesting for our guests.

Below is piece written by Mark Corpe, Sous Chef at Leicester Bistro L!VE.

The start of a new menu is always an exciting time for us chefs.
Months of hard work, deliberation and a few differences of opinion(!) have boiled down to what I think is a really tasty and classic “bistro” menu.
The good old beef bourguignon is back, a dish which I have somewhat of a love affair with.

Back in the 1980’s, the heyday of the bistro style restaurants, sporting their chequered table clothes, candles, carafes and all the family favourites, the beef bourguignon was king! Since then though, over time the bourguignon has faded away, cast aside as being old fashioned and out of date. Until now that is! Many famous chefs including the likes of Gordon Ramsay, have put their own mark on this dish, and now finds itself firmly back on the menus of even the finest of fine dining restaurants.

And so, with its rich earthy taste, smokey chunks of bacon, lashings of red wine and melt in the mouth beef brisket, the “beef bourguignon” is my favourite. And it’s back!

We serve it with a large quenelle of herb mashed potato, sautéed green beans and succulent chantenay carrots. What more could you want as the weather draws in!!!

For a full look at our menu please click here....

Or to book then please follow this link to our website....

If you have any food related questions please feel free to contact me at where I would be more than happy to assist you.

Hope to see you all soon

Development Head Chef

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Nottingham Team Development

With summer coming to a close (did we really have one?) and Christmas just around the corner, here at Bistro L!VE we have a lovely menu lined up!
I’m pleased to say that here at Bistro L!VE Nottingham, we have had an exceptionally busy summer period which has really helped test and push the kitchen team whilst also helping them sharpen their skills. I will talk about the team quite a bit, as it is with their continuous hard work, that we manage to deliver our menus for up to 320 people a night.                     

My team are the source of some of my greatest pride & pleasure in my working day! I especially enjoy having trainees, taking great satisfaction from being able to pass on my skills, knowledge and experience to others. To see a young trainees’ face light up when they achieve something successfully for the first time, that you have taught them, is absolutely brilliant and for me, makes it all worth while.

I will be posting regular blogs about my trainees progress, particularly with regards to their exploits at college and how they will bring their training into the Bistro L!VE Kitchen.
I currently have two trainees in the Kitchen, Michael Croft and Rebecca Sawyer.

Firstly Michael, he has been with us now for three years and joined us on a work placement NVQ scheme, he sailed through this scheme, so we decided to keep him. I wanted him to go to college to do his NVQ and learn more than the work placement scheme had taught him, so we sent him off to college one day a week and just before last Christmas he became a fully fledged NVQ level 2 chef. Now Bistro Live are sending him back once more to gain a level 3 NVQ. This promises to be a harder and sterner test of the skills he has learnt so far. Watch this space to see how he gets on. Good Luck Michael!

Secondly we have Rebecca, who joined us just recently. She enjoys cooking at home especially baking, and wants to become a chef. After a few months of proving her worth as a kitchen assistant, Bistro Live is now sending her off to college this September to gain her NVQ level 2 chef qualification. Again I will let you know how she gets on.

But for now its back to the new menu that’s quickly approaching. We have a staff training night to arrange and prepare for. We devote a whole night to training the kitchen team on the new menu and how we will deliver it to our customers. It also gives us the opportunity to let the front of house staff taste the food that they will be serving to our customers and ensure they know all the key information about each dish.
John Boothroyd
Head Chef
Bistro L!VE Nottingham

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Business L!VE Menus

If you didn’t already know our sister company is Business Live. The Bistro Live Chefs also create the menus for the Business Live lunches.

For us in Nottingham the first Thursday in every month we look forward to creating the Business Live Menu.

I like it as I love to be creative with the desserts and I get to be that little bit more adventurous with the food. We get the chance to make dishes that are different to the Bistro Live menus.

Using the finest ingredients available, we create simple, yet sophisticated dishes for our lunchtime service. Each dish is prepared fresh and on site, and each month offers something new! We like to offer dishes with a ‘little touch of class’ with a fun contemporary twist.

Business LIVE is the growing name on the business networking scene where you get a delicious 2 course meal in a relaxed informal atmosphere whilst getting to know many more people within your business world.

Rachel J M Bartlam
Sous Chef Nottingham

Business L!VE is available in Milton Keynes and Leicester as well. For more information go to the website or contact Sammy
0844 822 31 20

Friday, 10 August 2012

Recent Product Launch at Bistro Live Nottingham!

Have a look at the video taken recently of the Product Launch for Siemens Hearing Ltd...

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Email me with your requirements and I will get right on it!

Update From the Leicester Head Chef

Hello, I'm Gary - the Head Chef in Leicester. Just thought I'd write a quick blog before I jet away to Thailand for 2 weeks! That's right, I'm abandoning the kitchen in Leicester to go and soak up the sun in Southeast Asia, while Mark runs the kitchen for the next two weekends.
Hopefully when I come back (If I do!) I'll be able to use some Thai influence on the menu that we're currently developing for the new year. Thai cuisine is something that I've always admired and fingers crossed I'll see a dish that will fit perfectly on our Bistro Live menu.

In the meantime, I'll leave you guys in the capable hands of Mark and the rest of our team while I take a well-deserved break and I'll see you all in a few weeks (perhaps!)

Monday, 30 July 2012

September - November Menu Finalised

We have now finalised our September to November menu. All the chefs got together last week and cooked off each dish on the menu to decide the best way to ensure our customers get the best possible product.

There is plenty of variety to choose from the Starter section, such as Root Vegetable Soup, a nice pureed soup topped with parsnip and beetroot crisps. There is our very own Forest Fruit Tower, our forever popular Three-cheese Potato Cakes making a return, as well as our homemade Chicken Liver Pate with onion chutney. If its seafood you like then why not start with the Seafood Tart with lemon and chive cream.

From the mains, you could tuck into our hand-rolled Cod & Pancetta Fishcakes with white wine veloute. But if seafood is not your bag then there are many options that will tick your box. Our signature Chicken Roulade with tomato & herb sauce will be without doubt our top seller this Autumn. Or if you're a bit more winter than summer in your appetite - there is our slow-cooked Beef Bourguignon with herb mash. Also available from the mains section, there is a Gorgonzola & Mushroom Penne with sun-dried tomato crush or a Brie, Cherry Tomato & Red Onion Tart with vibrant rocket pesto.

The final treats on offering for you are bound to get everyone's sweet tooth going! Classic Chocolate Brownie with Ice cream, or Vanilla seed Cheesecake with wild fruit compote will compete with each other for top seller. But if you prefer a warmer dessert then why not try our Apple and Berry Crumble with Crème Anglaise, equally as light but just as naughty!

For a full look at our menu please click here....

Or to book then please follow this link to our website....

If you have any food related questions please feel free to contact me on where I would be more than happy to assist you.

Hope to see you soon

Development Head Chef