The La Petite Ferme that we visit and enjoy is a true testament of the staff’s strength, perseverance, dedication and loyalty. Over the 32 years of its existence, various challenges have been endured but, from the evidence of today, were triumphantly overcome.
It has been the staff’s endurance and ability to look ahead at what La Petite Ferme was to become that kept the dream alive. Every stumbling block, challenge, victory and success - no matter how big or small - has made La Petite Ferme what it is today.
Take a look at a few of our old vs new images we have put together. A picture truly speaks a thousand words.
If you've visited us before, you're sure to have met Estie, but you might not realise just how important she is to us.
Estie began working at La Petite Ferme as a waitress in 1991, and she was part of the team who rebuilt the restaurant after the fire in 1996. She then worked as our executive housekeeper, and today - some 25 years later - she spends her time doing what she loves best: interacting with guests in the restaurant as head waitress.
A little trip down memory lane - the uniforms may have changed, but the smiles, warmth and passion for service have stood the test of time!
The restaurant at La Petite Ferme was first opened in 1984. Tragedy struck in 1996 when the building was destroyed by a fire, but it was rebuilt shortly thereafter - brick by brick - by the La Petite Ferme team.
Today, our renowned restaurant has been revamped to sport a more modern, fresh appeal, but retaining the same heart, warmth and heritage that first set it on the culinary map all those years ago.
It is a magnificent thing to see how far a dream has come and we can only thank all those involved in making La Petite Ferme what it is today. We are so excited to see what is to come in the future.
There is nothing quite like the festive season. It’s the time of the year that most, if not all people really look forward to. In preparation for Christmas day, beautifully decorated Christmas trees are put up, lunch and dinner plans are made amongst family and friends and who can forget the excitement of receiving gifts from Santa Claus.
La Petite Ferme is a beautiful, luxurious and well-known wine farm found overlooking the incredible valleys of Franschhoek. Not only does it offer breath-taking views, you can be sure to indulge in a delicious meal accompanied by La Petite Ferme wine of your choice at the newly renovated restaurant, or enjoy a few days away surrounded by absolute beauty and tranquillity when you stay at our 5-star accommodation facilities.
A brief history
How did it start you might ask? Well, what makes this wine farm unique is the inspiring, rich history that La Petite Ferme holds firmly onto to this very day. This is our story:
John and Carol Dendy-Young moved from Zimbabwe to Franschhoek in 1974 when they bought the La Petite Ferme farm to start farming with predominantly plums. After farming with plums and pears for ten years, the business was not doing well at all and with the fruit industry at a low, the Dendy-Youngs had to make some difficult decisions. Carol was forced to get a job or they would have to sell the farm, so she took a position at the 1688 restaurant (now Le Quartier Francais) where she worked from 1982 to 1984 doing both front of house and cooking. She then decided that they might as well open up their own restaurant and so in 1984 it took John and the farm workers twelve months to build the forty-seater restaurant. They also sold the bottom half of the farm which meant they had to close the fruit packing shed and left all the workers without a job. They employed all the ladies who worked in the packing shed in the restaurant as cooks and waitresses, some of them not even able to speak English. With Carol’s love and passion for cooking she put together a menu which was both heart-warming and comforting, with some items still on the menu today.
In 1996 the property was bought by their son, Mark Dendy-Young, who also brought his love and passion for wine with him into the business. He planted vines in the same year and started off with just two tanks. 1996 also brought with it a great tragedy which saw the restaurant burn down to the ground. The workers then swapped their aprons for gumboots as they rebuilt the restaurant. It took them five months to rebuild, and this time with a kitchen twice the size. Regular local and international guests were devastated by the news and donated pots, pans, cutlery and kitchen equipment.
In 1997 they also built the first accommodation on the farm, starting with three cottages. Carol slowly let go of the kitchen in 1996 and John still looked after the vineyard and wine tours until October 2015 when the property was sold.
It’s the very people and circumstances that shaped and moulded La Petite Ferme into what it is today. A story so inspiring, it continues to fuel the passion in each and every employee and customer that visits.
A promising future
With La Petite Ferme under new ownership; some incredible renovations were made, but the heart of La Petite Ferme has remained the same. A heart filled with strength, character and passion that will surely lead La Petite Ferme into a bright future.
La Petite Ferme—Franschhoek’s Enduring Treasure. In a town that prides itself on being all things to all people when it comes to matters culinary—and to a lot of other things as well—one of Franschhoek’ s enduring treasures has always been La Petite Ferme. The home of the Dendy Young family for generations has new owners and they are coming to terms with their acquisition in the best way possible. There is a new look to the place –a slight modernisation which is most appealing, without changing the feel of the place—very clever. What helps it all along is that many of the staff one has been used to seeing there over the years still hold sway.
When we imagine Franschhoek, we think of lush green slopes, world-class wine and the renowned establishment: La Petite Ferme. This restaurant is located on the Franschhoek pass road, and the property overlooks the slopes of Oliphant Pass and Middagkrans Mountain. La Petite Ferme is recognised for its fine wines, gourmet cuisine and charming guesthouse.
...retains heart and soul
We’ve long been enamoured of the legendary La Petite Ferme. There are few who aren’t familiar with ‘that wine farm on the hill’ and its unrivalled views across the magnificent Franschhoek Valley from its position on the slopes of Oliphants Pass and Middagkrans Mountain.