Chef's Dish: Lesley Draper talks to head chef Andy Szurko

Head chef Andy SzurkoHead chef Andy Szurko
Head chef Andy Szurko
Home cooking with a real French accent

It is seven years since Le Bistrot Pierre moved into its purpose-built home on Ecclesall Road South.

That opening was a landmark for founders Robert Beacham and John White-head: their first new-build venture, developing the success of a partnership that began when they were still in short trousers.

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Bistrot Pierre's beef bourguignonBistrot Pierre's beef bourguignon
Bistrot Pierre's beef bourguignon

Now they have reached a new landmark, with a £9.8 million investment that will enable them to expand nationwide.

The business has come a long way since schoolfriends Rob and John embarked on their initial venture as a franchise of the erstwhile Pierre Victoire chain.

They aimed to provide customers with great value French cooking in an authentic setting and it proved a popular formula. They developed their brand, extended their reach – and already have 14 successful bistrots even before the ambitious new plan kicks into action.

In Sheffield, the reputation of Bistrot Pierre rests in the capable hands of head chef Andy Szurko, who is keen to build on its reputation for great food and French culture.

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Bistrot Pierre, SheffieldBistrot Pierre, Sheffield
Bistrot Pierre, Sheffield

Andy trained at Sheffield College and got his first job at Baldwin’s Omega when he was just 15: “That ignited my passion for cooking.”

He learned his craft in restaurants across the city before seeking experience further afield, at places such as Holdsworth House in Halifax, where he helped to secure two AA rosettes.

Then he broadened his horizons still further, in Osaka, Japan: “That was an incredible experience and taught me so much about different cultures, food preparation and methods of cooking,” he says.

When he returned home, he switched from Japanese influences to French, joining Bistrot Pierre in 2010.

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Chef Andy SzurkoChef Andy Szurko
Chef Andy Szurko

Andy likes the style of cooking, the range of dishes and the attention to detail that he believes sets the restaurant apart.

“We’re consistent in using fresh, quality ingredients – several sourced from artisan producers in France – and maintain the highest standards when it comes to produce used in kitchen.

He says: “Our chefs are really committed, serving food that has been prepared with care and passion.”

As a fan of meat dishes, Andy is partial to the bistrot’s canard aux cerises, a pan-fried duck breast with dark cherries and port. But the customers’ favourite is boeuf Bourguignon maison.

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Bistrot Pierre's beef bourguignonBistrot Pierre's beef bourguignon
Bistrot Pierre's beef bourguignon

“Our much-loved recipe is synonymous with the French love of rich tastes and flavours; it’s a really special dish. Cooked perfectly, it tastes sensational and the combination of meat and rich, seasonal vegetables creates a dish which is unforgettable.”

Recipe by Andy Szurko

Bistrot Pierre’s Bourguignon


(serves 6)

1.6kg braising steak, cut into large chunks

Bistrot Pierre, SheffieldBistrot Pierre, Sheffield
Bistrot Pierre, Sheffield

3 bay leaves

Small bunch of thyme

2 bottles of cheap red wine (preferably French)

2 tblsp oil

2 onions, roughly chopped

1 garlic bulb, peeled

3 tblsp plain flour

1 tbsp tomato purée

To serve:

Small knob of butter

300g bacon lardons

500g pearl onions or small shallots, peeled

400g mushrooms, halved

Chopped parsley


Tip the beef into a large bowl with the bay leaves, thyme, wine and some pepper, then cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Heat oven to 200ºC. Place a colander over a large bowl and strain the marinated meat, keeping the wine.

Heat half the oil in a large frying pan, then brown the meat in batches, transferring to a plate once browned. When all the meat is browned, pour a little wine into the empty frying pan and bubble to release any caramelised bits from the pan.

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Heat the rest of the oil in a large casserole and fry the chopped onions and garlic until they start to colour. Stir in the flour for 1 min then add the tomato purée. Add the beef and any juices, the wine from the frying pan and the rest of the wine and herbs.

Season and bring to a simmer. Give everything a good stir, then cover. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a frying pan and add the bacon and pearl onions. Sizzle for about 10 mins until the bacon starts to crisp and the onions soften and colour. Add the mushrooms and fry for another 5 mins, then stir everything into the stew for 10 mins. Serve scattered with chopped parsley.

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