From Constantia to Franschhoek and now Stellenbosch: one of South Africa’s hottest rising chefs, Jess van Dyk starts a new chapter.
Stellenbosch’s Old Post Office on the corner of Bird and Plein street is getting a fresh new start to the year with the opening of Post & Pepper in February 2022. Situated in the heart of the bustling university town, this location is surrounded by the hum of commerce and busy with people who have somewhere to be.
Post & Pepper started as a daydream for Chef and Owner Jess van Dyk and Restaurant Manager Dimitri Hadzigrigoriou, sustaining them through the quiet moments at Franschhoek’s Protégé restaurant. The daydream soon began to take on a life of its own as the two friends mapped out the details. Chef Jess began to dream of a place where she could revel in and celebrate her own South African food heritage, mixed with global influences in a casual space.
“We want to offer everything that guests love about the ‘fine dining restaurant experience’, but without any of the stiffness” says Jess. “Or the intimidating price tag!” adds Dimitri with a shy smile.
With a seasonal, ever-changing menu this is an eating experience that will delight regulars, while offering a challenge to the chefs in the kitchen. “We want to have fun with our cooking, break down some of the old ‘rules’. Flavour is always the focus, but we can also make it approachable and straight from the heart”, says Jess.
Expect reinvented classics from Jess’s childhood in Kuruman, such as koeksisters, lieslap or skaapstertjies on the braai. Familiar yet fun, comforting and oh-so delicious!
It’s a bold step for Jess, who comes from the world-acclaimed pedigree of the La Colombe Group of restaurants. Van Dyk was previously Head Chef at South Africa’s Best Restaurant, La Colombe before taking the helm at Protégé and assisting with the expansion of the group into the Franschhoek region.
Hadzigrigoriou joins the team and has honed his world-class service style at some of South Africa’s best restaurants: The Test Kitchen, and more senior roles at the La Colombe Group’s Epice & Protégé. He will bring a polished freshness to the Post & Pepper team, with a passion for staff education and enrichment.
Jess and Dimitri, now close friends, wanted to adopt some of the strong values of unwavering quality and attention to detail from their fine dining experience, while shedding some of the formality and unapproachability – as Chef Jess likes to call it, FUN DINING!
Gone are restrictive, sequential multi-course menus: Post & Pepper is about family-style dining, with dishes that can be shared (or not!) depending on the occasion.
“We don’t want to bind our patrons by any rules, they should feel comfortable and right at home” adds Jess.
During the busy afternoons in Stellenbosch, Post & Pepper is a lively spot for a quick lunch or afternoon coffee meeting. In the cooler evenings, the tables are a little bit larger, where family and friends are encouraged to share plates and socialize in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.
“Our first goal is to create delicious food. Our second goal is to turn our guests into regulars, and ultimately: friends”, says Chef Jess. Dimitri smiles, nodding thoughtfully.
Post & Pepper is due to open mid-February 2022 for lunch and dinner.