Something you often hear in Beeston is that it’s good for takeways, but a bit short on nice, sit-down restaurants. So I was excited when PJDee’s African Cuisine opened in Greenhouse, the block of eco-flats with windmills on the roof on Beeston Road. I went to meet Janet, the proprietor, to find out more.
A. My family name is Patrick Janet Daniella, but I just made it PJDee’s!
Q. And what inspired you to start running a bar and restaurant?
A. Since I was a little girl in Ghana, I’ve always loved cooking. And I kept cooking for family and friends’ parties — I love inviting people over for a meal in my house, and people would say “why aren’t you using this talent to open a restaurant?” I was busy working, and starting a business is not easy when you’re already working. But I talked about it with my family, and one day I just woke up and said “I’m doing this!”
Q. It does feel a bit like I’ve been invited to a party at your house: it’s got a really welcoming vibe. So, why Ghanaian food?
A. If you look at Leeds, we don’t have lots African restaurants — we have lots of Chinese or Indian, but you don’t hear much about African ones, and those I’ve come across are all Nigerian. So I decided, since I’m a Ghanaian, why don’t I get myself a Ghanaian restaurant, with some of the dishes we have back in our country? It’s good to experience other nationalities’ foods.
Q. And what brought you to Greenhouse? I mean, you’re tucked away in here and people have to buzz the intercom to get in, so it’s an unusual spot.
A. I started a catering business from my house last year, and I wanted to develop it. I was looking for a place in Beeston. I’m not only targeting the African market, not at all — but Beeston does have a huge African population. And I’ve lived in Beeston and I feel at home here. I was considering a few places, and then I saw this one advertised and I loved it! So that was it: I love taking a risk in life, and when I’m determined to do something, I do it.
Q. And tell me more about the food!
A. The menu varies from day to day. When you say “West African food”, people often think it’s really unfamiliar, but it’s all familiar ingredients — but cooked in a special way! I’ve got no frozen food here, and I get all my food in fresh. My aim is to promote healthy living, healthy eating!
You can find out more about PJDee’s catering services and restaurant at www.pjdeesafricancuisine.co.uk. The restaurant is open to all: just buzz 900 on the intercom.
This post was written by Alaric Hall using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.