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burnedale bistro


"From a very young age, I always used to sit with my mom and bake delicious treats and cakes for our weekly Sunday after-church tea. The best part of it though was getting to lick the leftover batter in the bowl and thats about as far as my baking journey went.

Little did I know that many years later the baking bug would bite and I started baking from home for customers while looking after my little boy. After many years in the hospitality industry and running numerous restaurants for others an offer came through for me to be a partner and owner of the now Burnedale Bistro Umhlali. 
It was a very interesting journey to venture on with many challenges and growth that came with it and I am very lucky to have a husband who owns restaurants as my biggest support pillar and mentor. He is a remarkable human and I learn so much from him daily and has been my biggest motivation to get where I am today. 

What's special about our Bistro is the family and team factor we have, we are always striving to give the best service and quality to our guests who visit. The best part for me, when we have launched a new menu item, is to watch a guest's reaction when they tuck into a delicious creation and to see the responses on their faces, it's a very rewarding thing to be able to give guests an amazing experience from start to finish. 
I love being creative and giving the wow factor to everything we do here. We love what we do and love to share that with all we have the honour of serving at our special Bistro."

Lesley Downham- burnedale bistro


Food has always been a part of my life; growing up in a “foodie” family with both home cooks and professional chefs, every core memory I have, involved a meal. 
I was always in the kitchen with my mom or gran, helping and watching them create something special and chatting about things; with my gran there was always a family take or two thrown in, to keep me entertained. 

In high school, I always had the desire to one day have my own restaurant; even going as far as saying that when I would retire at the age of 40, I would then open one up….. studies and work took me into Human Resources; marriage and children kept me busy, and the joy of food was magnified with making and creating meals for my own kids and wanting to pass on those  memories to my kids. I got to live my restaurant dreams when I left Human Resources behind and joined my then husband when he was offered the opportunity to join a successful franchise group; that lead me to meeting Les and her husband and not only did I learn about the industry, I once again got to experience the connection between food and family. 
Trials and changes happened over the years and through them I found that there is another element of creation with regards to flavors and that is with cocktails; the meshing of different flavors and colours and even the densities of the liquids can be quite magical, and something I hope to be able to share with our customers at Burnedale. 

Food, friendship, family and flavor are elements of my own experiences and journey and things I hope each of our guests in turn get to feel when they dine with us. We value each guest that joins us and strive to make sure that their experience is amazing; that all may leave having tasted our main ingredient: Love.

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