Menu selections

There are so many fantastic possibilities with galettes that the difficult part is sorting through all the wonderfully delicious options. There are things I would love to offer on the menu but either don’t have the time, or the suppliers, or the knowledge to do it right.

So I’ll going with a small menu, with specials to round things out occasionally and bring some variety. Our first tentative has now been posted to the main website.

The plan is to have experimental , invite-only gastronomic evenings.  We’ll invite regular clients and a few trusted others. No charge, but we will expect attendees to offer honest reviews. Those recipes that pass muster will then be offered as specials on the menu. Specials that do well will move to the regular menu, displacing items that aren’t as desirable.

Permanent location ACHIEVED!

To me it seems that a very important part of a “mobile” food concession is a permanent base from which to operate.  Oh sure, attending shows and markets is a huge and very important part of the attraction, but having a fixed location where people know where to find you on “off” days when they want you offer is, in my opinion, a huge bonus. It helps if the location has a fairly high pedestrian traffic and some parking. A large popular store, for instance.

I have just had a wonderful conversation with the folks at RONA Home Centre, here in Nanaimo.  That all important first permanent location for Bistro Breizh will be the RONA parking lot, in south Nanaimo.  A shout out to Sandy of Sandy’s Ukrainian Kitchen for passing on the opportunity when it came knocking at their door. Forever grateful!

That was quick – change of plans

Well, that was quick!  Just found out that the other major player in this little project is actually working on 24th April, so there will be no party on that date since she can’t attend!

So although we will be opening 24th April (or sooner), the GRAND OPENING (you need to read that in a circus tent ringmaster voice… really.) is now scheduled for 8th of May. Which is probably going to work out for the best, as it gives us some time to work out the kinks before the party.

If anyone thinks I should get an event permit and import some decent Breton cidre let us know. If enough people say “yes” then I’ll see what can be done. BC Liquor laws are really, really oppressive, and without solid demand I’m not venturing in their realm.

Getting ahead of schedule

Amazingly, we’re about to get at least a full month, possibly two, ahead of schedule! Instead of opening “late may / early june” we’re now geared up for “late april”!

When we first approached the previous owners of the new trailer (yes, yes, pictures soon! I promise!) we negotiated a deal where they would get to use it into May, because they had shows they needed to attend before getting their new food truck. It seems that’s no longer the case. So instead of having to wait until the beginning of May to start refitting the trailer, it looks like I’ll be starting the process in the next week or two. I have NEVER had a project move ahead that fast just on a single piece of news. Usually it’s a struggle to stay on target. Now, we’re way ahead!

It’s a wonderful feeling! I could really get used to this!

So we get the trailer hopefully some time next week. We then start refitting the bits and pieces that need work. It’s all minor stuff, I just needed (ok, WANTED. Pedants.) a slightly different mix of appliances and I need to rework the serving area to accommodate the billig (crêpe griddles).

Which means that, assuming all goes well, the new more aggresive schedule has us kicking off on or around the 24th of April, 2015. In addition to be the first time I’ve been able to fix a date, it’s also going to be one hell of a party! Details to be announced later.


Schedule for Feb/Mar/Apr 2015

We are currently still setting up and are not technically open yet.

The current plan is to be open at the end of May, perhaps the beginning of June. These dates are subject to negotiations we’re currently having with various suppliers.

That said, I’m told we’re having some “taste testing evenings” prior to the official opening.  For some the invitations have already gone out. For others, the door is still open, but in general we’re restricting these to people we know. However, if you’re really, really interested then contact us and make your pitch of why you should be included in the pre-opening taste testing.

Business as Tetris

I’ve been working on this project since around September 2014. Research, practice, more research, more practice, putting together the pieces as they fall into place, but never really managing to make it all pull together.

Until today.

Today, it felt both liberating and terrifying. I’ve just agreed to make the main purchase for the business – the food concession trailer itself. I’m buying a newish one, well used during its short life but well designed by a couple who have a lot of experience putting these things together. However, it’s much, MUCH more than I had expected to pay, and its cost effectively wipes out my entire safety buffer, and more. Oh, I believe it’s excellent value for the money. But this project has grown far beyond the original budget outline I made in late September, and I hadn’t updated the business side expectations as the plans evolved. Quite the shock when today’s reality met yesterdays estimates. I’m still reeling from it.

The only analogy I could think of was that all that work was me building the wall in Tetris, but there was always this one row along the side that needed filling, and no matter what I did, so long as it didn’t get filled I’d never be able to actually move on. But the pieces were falling really slowly and it was a comfortable place. Almost safe. The trailer was that missing piece. Suddenly, all those Tetris rows went boom and it’s “welcome to the next level”. Things are starting to move really fast. I can’t let the rows build up any more or I’ll lose the game. So much work to do!

On the other hand, it’s REAL now, in a way it wasn’t before. This is really happening. In two or three months I’ll be out there, making crêpes, galettes, tarte aux pommes, moules frites (maybe) and all the other foods of my long, food-filled life and sharing it with everyone else. We can pull this together, and make it work. It will indeed be glorious!

Evolution of a concept

It’s been an interesting month. This whole project started as “let’s just make a few crêpes”. A few new tricks to learn, but something I’ve been doing since I was a child. But then I started to remember old dreams. A slow simmering of past hopes and wishes bubbling to the surface, releasing the sweet fragrance of passion. A passion for good food, and good drink.

So now we’re at the stage of “we’ll START by just making a few crêpes”. Just to get into the hang of things, gain a bit of traction. But now I know where I want to take this project. I’m going to introduce Breton cooking to the region. Food from both land and sea. Farm cooking from inland, known as “argoat” (from the land, pronounced: arr-g-wat). Sailor’s cooking, known as “armor” (from or near the sea, pronounced: arr-mor, with the rolling R).  I got both when I grew up, since the farm was near the ocean. We’d have our farm and garden variety of meat and vegetables and especially potatoes. Always potatoes. Also our shore-gathered bounty of sea food. Solid, basic, GOOD! Oh, so good!  The good drinks will have to wait, BC liquor laws being what they are.

Galettes (buckwheat crêpes) will have pride of place. There will a variety of other traditional dishes that I remember from my childhood. There will be a few sweets, of course. Not too much. There will be new dishes as well, inspired by and building upon Breton history and culture. There will be a lot of experimentation, to which people will be invited.

We can do this. It’ll be glorious. One way or another.

Choosing a channel – why a blog?

We needed a way to let people know where they could find us, and perhaps a few extra tidbits now and again. “Mobile food” means just that, and it also means schedules are likely to be very variable while we’re starting up. It needed to be simple to update and simple to read.

So we looked at Twitter. And we looked at Facebook. And we looked at other social networks… but none of them allowed us to just post what we’d like others to know and forget about it.  For starters, they all want people to register and give them huge gobs of private information. No way! Also, Facebook wants money to let people who are following an account see all the posts. Using Twitter would probably mean getting drowned in text. Plus all these sites want us to “engage” with people. I’m of the opinion that the only way I really want to “engage” with someone is by feeding them excellent food, in person, while talking to them. In person.

So here’s the news blog. Hopefully it helps us get the message out while not requiring people to compromise any principles of security or privacy. Because good food shouldn’t require that.

Who are “we”.

When I write posts sometimes I’ll say “me”, sometimes I’ll say “we”.  Who is “we”?

Well, I’m Marc. Been cooking since I was a kid, and I’ve been on a quest to find good food for as long as I can remember. Wasn’t a career until recently though. After I couldn’t find work in my original field for many years it finally dawned on me that I had the freedom to finally go do what I’ve wanted to do for many years. I can’t QUITE do that here in B.C. due to archaic liquor laws, but I can get close. So here I am showcasing a small slice of good Breton food, without the good Breton drinks.

The other people are just as important. Yoshie is my spouse, and is really the driving force behind this. She’s the one who gave the encouragement and support to get this off the ground. Without her, there would be no “Crêpes Breizh”.

Then there’s Margarita and Alexander, who helped so much in the early stages. Their advice has been invaluable.

So “we” is everyone above. Plus the company itself, since it seems to have developed a life of its own.