The culinary industry pays tribute to chef Peter Veldsman

The late chef Peter Veldsman. Picture: Elizabeth Catharina Facebook

The late chef Peter Veldsman. Picture: Elizabeth Catharina Facebook

Published Apr 18, 2024


In the wake of the death of one of South Africa’s brightest culinary luminaries, chefs around the country have taken to social media to pay tribute to Peter Veldsman, who has died at the age of 82.

Veldsman’s granddaughter Elizabeth Catharina shared the news on Facebook on Tuesday.

“Dear friends and family, I’m extremely sad to share that Oupa Peter Johan Veldsman passed away this morning. His family and closest circle of oldest friends need time to process and mourn his loss.

“He was very peaceful and I prayed with him several times in the ICU. We will be in contact regarding a memorial service. We thank you and appreciate your love and support with regard to honouring his last wishes,” she wrote.

On Facebook, people in the culinary industry shared their memories of the chef and spoke of how much he would be missed.

Chef Pieter Malan wrote: “I'm so sad to hear about the passing of Chef Peter Veldsman. He was a true South African culinary icon.

“From his leadership of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs to founding the first Cordon Bleu School in South Africa, his cookbooks and years with SARIE magazine helped shape how so many of us cook and appreciate South African food. Rest in peace, Chef Veldsman.

“You were an absolute legend, and the culinary world will be so much emptier without you. Your influence will be felt for generations.”

Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Namibia, wrote: “We lost another amazing colleague today. Chef Peter Veldsman. He has been very influential in the South African culinary industry. RIP Chef.”

Herman Lensing, the current SARIE food editor, shared that his heart is broken as the icon that was filled with so much knowledge is gone.

The late chef Peter Veldsman. Picture: Elizabeth Catharina Facebook

“Thank you Peter Veldsman for the wisdom you shared so widely. Fifteen years ago, when I was appointed SARIE’s food editor, you sat me down and looked me deep in the eyes and said, ‘Now you have the chance to teach people about food, to make people’s lives better.’

“Peter also mocked my appointment with a wink about how skinny he was when he was as young as I was. Every time he saw me he said how proud he was of me and that SARIE could be thankful she had such good food editors.

“You are gone too soon, Peter. Your knowledge is irreplaceable. There was only one like you and your place at the South African dinner table is empty now… Oh, my heart is aching. I feel guilty because we still wanted to visit… Wanted more, it’s too late now,” Lensing wrote.

In a tribute by the South African Chefs Association, the association noted that for decades, Veldsman championed South African culinary arts, inspiring generations of chefs with his dedication, passion, and knowledge.

They said that he wore many hats: a teacher, cookbook author, restaurateur, award-winning food writer, and tireless advocate for the culinary world.

They also acknowledged that Veldsman established the first Cordon Bleu School in South Africa, served as chairperson of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and the Culinary Circle of South Africa and held the position of food editor at SARIE magazine for nearly two decades.

And for 24 years, he presided over one of Cape Town’s most beloved dining establishments, Emily’s.

“Though we mourn his passing, Chef Peter Veldsman’s legacy will continue to inspire South African chefs for generations to come,” they said.

Western Cape cultural affairs and sport MEC Anroux Marais also paid tribute to the iconic chef.

“Peter Veldsman was a son of Ladismith and Kannaland, who studied and travelled widely but never forgot his roots. He combined his knowledge of tradition, engendered by his grandmother, mother, and aunts, with the best and latest the culinary world had to offer.

“He was at the nexus where food, culture, and language met. From 1975, his contributions to Afrikaans cooking terms as magazine food editor, and radio presenter left an indelible impression on generations of readers and listeners.

“I am deeply saddened by his passing and send my sincere condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time,” Marais said.