The beautiful coastal town of Hermanus is home to many culinary delights. In the Village Square an eye catching little corner restaurant stands proud. Pear Tree.
My breakfast was a Herb Four Egg Omelette, dressed with bacon, sun-dried tomato, pesto, caramelized onions, smoked cheese and wilted spinach. Tasty, attractively displayed, fairly priced, and served with a smile. What more could you ask for on a weekend morning?
Relaxing music and the bistro’s modern wooden decor, combined with its rustic looking floor, left an impression of cosiness. The view from my table was priceless and I had the added benefit of the impressive yet approachable chef/restauranteur’s company.
Chef and owner Petri Hendrikz, has been in the restaurant business for 17 years. Most of his experience was gained during his travels working in the UK. His journey with food included some impressive pitstops and saw him working in well known hotels like the Sheraton and Emperors’ Palace.
Upon his return to Hermanus, Petri worked with his parents on a number of restaurant projects, including their well known restaurant, Fusion, which still operates under family ownership today. Petri also opened his first solo project, a restaurant called eat EAT, and started up the Village Stall alongside his father.
After selling these two successful bistros, Pear Tree was born.
Why call it Pear Tree though?
When I worked overseas people had difficulty pronouncing my name correctly. I was called Pear Tree and the name just stuck with me. I promised myself that I would one day open a restaurant with the name Pear Tree.
Is there a signature dish?
This question I always find difficult to answer. Many of our dishes are, what I would say, signature. My favourite dishes… the Beef and Onion, Braised Short Rib, Crushed Dijon Potato, Smoked Onion Purée and Greens and Onion Ash.
Being a chef and restauranteur’s means long hours. Being home is more of a luxury than the norm. It comes as no surprise that when home Petri eats rice cakes, peanut butter and honey.
Unless Ma cooks and delivers a package.
If you were on your way to the electrical chair, what would your last meal be?
Lasagne, or spaghetti bolonaise, my favourite. My grandma, Ouma Andre still makes the best bolonaise sauce.
Does this chef eat fast food?
What is the most important tool in your kitchen?
I would say a sharp knife and decent pan.
Do experienced chefs like yourself still have flops?
Lots! It’s practice, practice, taste and keep going until you succeed.
Tell us about your future plans…
I’m currently busy with another premises to open something else. Still playing with ideas.
What advice would you give to young people wanting to go into the same trade?
To be a chef/restauranteur is not s job, it’s a lifestyle. It takes a lot of hours and sacrifices to reach your goal. Experience is very important. So don’t give up, however hard it might be, keep going and persist.
What makes you successful?
Hard work. I’m always trying to be one step ahead. And the most important, trained staff who want to work for the business.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Still deciding about that one, but definitely always to another country, culture, food and people. My last trip was Bali. Had some great meals and cooked with them. Humble people, and willing to allow you in their home/kitchen to learn. I’m planning a trip to New York. I have a new project and need to do some research.
We will most definitely have to keep on eye on this dynamic businessman. The possibility of his very own recipe book might just see the light as well. When visiting Hermanus, be sure to visit the Pear Tree. You will not be disappointed.
Pear Tree Hermanus, Shop 2, Godfrey Cottages, Village Square