Trained in South African and experienced in the unforgiving kitchens under the streets of SOHO, Peter Tempelhoff has come back home to ply his skills in the kitchens of the Cape.
While in England he worked in many great restaurants; Quo Vadis, Zafferano and Hambleton Hall, to name but a few. In 2005, a watershed year for him, he managed to scoop the London Top Table Award (ES Magazine) and was also nominated in London’s foodie Oscars (Harpers & Queens and Moet Restaurant Awards) for Restaurant of the Year, while running the kitchens at the upmarket brasserie, Automat.
Since his return to the Cape he has won the prestigious title of Sunday Times Chef of the Year 2007, Franschhoek Life Chef of 2007 and has guided The Restaurant at Grande Provence into the Eat Out Top 10 list.
In January 2008 Peter took on a new challenge as Executive Chef for The Collection by Liz McGrath, which comprises a trio of 5 star Relais and Chateaux hotels incorporating 4 restaurants in all. His goal is to elevate the fine dining restaurants and their head chefs to star status by using a combination of hard work and training, as well as the use of clever flavours, techniques and beautiful plating.
In 2011 Peter was awarded the prestigious Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Title and was also labelled by the Relais & Chateaux as a future leader in the field of cuisine. Ending 2011 with a bang, Peter’s flagship restaurant- Greenhouse- was voted as South Africa’s Restaurant of the Year by Eat Out.
I started my career in the restaurant industry at 16 working in a small café style restaurant in Simons Town. I started off in the barista, making coffees and drinks before stepping out onto the floor as a waiter. After school I still hadn’t chosen a career. I was torn between the alluring world of the professional kitchen and following in most of my family’s footsteps, advertising and film. Being the black sheep, I went with the kitchen.
I enrolled at the South African chef academy. It was a short and chaotic year but a great head start into industry. I graduated on a Friday and started work that Monday at the five star Mount Nelson Hotel. This was my first taste of a real kitchen and although I had been warned about the long hours and stressful work environment, nothing could prepare me for my first 25 hour shift.
After The Mount Nelson I continued with 5 star hotels and joined the team at Greenhouse at the Cellars Hohenort. Peter had just joined the Collection at this time. This is where I truly found my passion.
After a few years of working my way up the ranks I felt it was time to broaden my horizons and head to the UK. I went for a two month working holiday where I did stages (brief stints, 2 days – week, at restaurants for no pay) at a few Michelin stared restaurants in London.
I returned to Greenhouse as we opened in our new venue in the Hohenort building.
I stayed for another year but I had only tasted a small portion of what the UK had to offer and wanted more. So I packed up my things and headed back over.
I started at a Michelin stared restaurant in Hertfordshire. I then moved closer to London and found great little rising star restaurant in Amersham, the Artichoke. While working I also completed a number of stages at a few 2 and 3 Michelin star restaurants (Whatley Manor, Le Manor, Fat Duck)
I stayed there for close on 3 years.
Missing the sunshine, I longed to return to Cape Town. When I found out there was a Head Chef position opening up at The Greenhouse, I packed my bags and headed home.