Peter John Vadas – fondly known as PJ – was raised in a Knysna kitchen and comes from a long line of foodies, restaurateurs and chefs. In fact his parents, who are a constant source of inspiration to him, still own and run the well-known restaurant Pembrey’s, which has been trading for the last 21 years. PJ knew from a young age that he wanted to become a chef and after school he studied to do just that.
Once PJ graduated from culinary school, he started his career at Parks restaurant, under the watchful eye of Michael Oliver. After a few years at Parks, he started getting itchy feet and decided to seek out some international experience. His first stop was London, where he was fortunate enough to work for Gordon Ramsay and from there he went on to open Ramsay’s New York restaurant in 2007. After PJ’s New York experience he decided to return to London to work with well know chefs such as Angela Hartnett at The Connaught and Roger Verge, of La Moulin de Mougins.
Having gained valuable knowledge and experience working overseas, PJ decided to return home. He first worked as Executive Chef at Pembrey’s in Knysna, and then helped establish the Roundhouse restaurant in Camps Bay, running it for four years. Then he went on to become the Executive Chef at Camphors at Vergelegen. Both adventures at the Roundhouse and Camphors earned PJ Eat Out Top Ten awards.
PJ has always been passionate about food and has a ‘farm to plate’ philosophy; he strives to support local economy by buying from local producers that use ethical and sustainable practices.
That’s how the evolution of setting up Hoghouse began! It’s always been PJ’s vision to serve good, old-fashioned comfort food where the flavours of the food are not interfered with and the environment in which it’s served is understated enough to let the food do the talking.
Today PJ is the Executive Chef and visionary behind Hoghouse Brewing Company which encompasses Hoghouse Brewery & Barbecue Restaurant in Ndabeni and Hoghouse Bakery & Café at Spier in Stellenbosch.