Tributes have poured in for the co-owner of Noordhoek’s Foodbarn, Pete “Peachie” de Bruin, following his death on Thursday July 23 after a four-month battle with cancer.
His business partner and best friend, Franck Dangereux, says he will be missed, and he will continue to run the Foodbarn in his friend’s honour.
Pete and Franck met in Hout Bay in 1987. At the time, Pete worked as a waiter at the Red Sails Inn on the beachfront.
“My English wasn’t very good and Pete could not speak French, but after a few shots of Jose Cuervo Gold, I could speak English and his French was pretty much fluent,” Franck says.
And as they say, the rest was history. The two stayed in touch, became good friends and dreamed of opening a restaurant where they could take their families to enjoy good food in a casual setting.
“We didn’t want to create a fine-dining restaurant,”says
Franck. “We wanted to create a place where you would find delicious food and where you could sit with your sandy feet and your children and dogs could play and be safe.”
In 2006, after many years of dreaming, the two decided to take action and opened the Foodbarn. Franck left his job at La Colombe restaurant, and Pete gave up becoming a partner at an IT service-management company.
“Pete had just started a family and was tired of travelling and long hours so we decided to go for it,” recalls Franck.
Like most businesses, he says, they had ups and downs and disagreements, but they always had a deep respect for each other and that is why they worked so well together.
“It is hugely due to the commercial savvy Pete brought to the business, and I learned so much from him during the years,” Franck says.
He says he will always remember Pete joking: “Franck cooks the food, and I cook the books.”
Franck says Pete loved any food that could be expertly paired with a good wine, simple food like slices of ripe avocado served
with seared tuna and a bit of
olive oil and lemon juice. He
also loved a good braai with all the trimmings, and thoroughly enjoyed the restaurant’s once-a-month food-and-wine pairing.
“We would invite a winemaker to join us for a six-course meal to be paired with their wines. This was an event that Pete and I would always look forward to and attend and it was a very festive affair. We consumed a lot of food and wine and a lot of laughter was had.”
Pete spent his days at the deli and he knew everyone in Noordhoek, Franck says.
“He would speak to everyone and not just say hello but have a meaningful conversation with them. He was genuinely interested in people and not just because they were our clients. He had the
ability to open his heart to people. He would always want to help young entrepreneurs and was always identifying people which we could help in business.”
Pete’s wife, Kim Fletcher de Bruin, says the last few weeks before his death were traumatic.
The couple have lived in Noordhoek since 2006, and Pete and Franck have been instrumental in the development of the Farm Village and the Foodbarn.
Kim says her husband was an important part of the Noordhoek community and a loved man.
There will be no memorial service for him due to the Covid-19 restrictions, but once it is all over, she says, the family will celebrate his life.
“It will definitely be a big party – one that Pete would be proud of – somewhere outside where Pete loved to be.”
Pete leaves behind his wife, Kim, daughter, Mia, 15, and son, Daniel, 12.