Getting to know the locals has been a highlight of Blake Allnutt’s foray into his food venture in Milford. He knows the personal touch is key to the success of any new business, particularly when his customers’ taste buds and stomachs are involved.
Having been overseas for 15 years, Blake was keen to stamp himself firmly back on his home ground of Milford, and he loves being back. He took over the Madame Jojo’s gourmet food store in September last year, giving it a refresh and making it more light, airy and spacious. Renaming it Blake’s Providore gives it his own personality and flavour, with the idea of it being there to provision those of us who love conveniently good food.
Blake spent his earlier years building up experience in Europe by cooking his way around the continent and learning from the best, from private fine dining in France to large scale catering in London and cooking aboard superyachts in the Mediterranean. These vast and varied experiences honed his skills and gave him plenty of inspiration for how he could deliver great food, service and convenience to North Shore residents from his own business.
Blake's speciality is the range of chef-made meals for people to take home and simply heat and eat. The fridge and freezer are always stocked with a range of fresh and frozen meals like beef lasagne; Swedish meatballs with kumara mash and green beans; and Moroccan spiced Maryland chicken with pearl couscous and an apricot tagine sauce. And there are always options for vegetarian and vegan diets like vegan moussaka; handmade falafels with red pepper cauliflower; vegetarian lasagne; or roast aubergine, broccoli and sticky tofu. Chilean chef Felipe Martinez adds his own twist into the recipe development which creates a wider variety of flavour combinations with appeal.
Ready meals are changed weekly and Blake puts out a menu via his newsletter – sign up via the website. It is also displayed on the storefront window, so you can plan what to have for dinner on any given day. Blake tells us, “We have a couple in their 90s who visit every week for a meal and love to try new dishes. It saves them cooking time, it’s healthy and convenient, and they find it's great value too!”
Like any good deli, Blake’s has several options for you depending upon your needs each visit, and everything is baked or made on site. Mornings are for coffee so his supply of locally roasted Nomad beans satisfy that need very well. There are breakfast chia pots and always a scone of the day, slices, and a muffin which is usually a healthy bran variety, such as with apple and dates and low in added sugar. The deli cabinet is chock full and as your eyes try to take it all in, it can be difficult to make a decision.
You might feel like a salad for lunch, perhaps a hearty sandwich made on sourdough, or you can choose from many of the heat and eat options. Filo parcels continue to be popular and include fillings like Moroccan style chickpea, lentil, pumpkin, capsicum, spinach and toasted seeds. And the wonderful savoury cakes which on the day could be polenta cake made with roasted cauliflower and topped with roast pumpkin, corn and red onion, or a delicious pulled pork croquette. Of course, any of these can be enjoyed for dinner too, along with some salad and a fresh, crusty loaf of Wild Wheat sourdough or French bread that Blake gets in daily.
Since opening, Blake has also expanded his catering service. At Christmas time he sent out a lot of glazed hams, stuffed turkey, salads and vegetables and sides of salmon which eased the workload for many hosting a party or a meal on Christmas Day. He can also vacuum-pack the most delicious cured salmon if you are travelling. Catering to large or small gatherings, private or corporate, from budget to fine dining, Blake uses only the best produce and ingredients and can help you design the perfect menu to suit any occasion.
Blake’s Providore is really a one stop shop for all your food requirements when time is short, or you simply feel like some really good eats, whatever day it is. Convenience with no compromise.
89 Kitchener Road, Milford
P: 09 486 5711 www.blakesprovidore.co.nz