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Fanjoy restaurant pivoting into event space and charity HQ

Chef Pam Fanjoy is looking to deepen the connection between community, food and wellness at renovated Hillsburgh space
Pam Fanjoy at a garden wedding in 2017.

HILLSBURGH – A well-known Hillsburgh-area chef is looking to cook up more change through a large renovation project at her former restaurant. 

Chef Pam Fanjoy is converting her old restaurant on Trafalgar Road in Hillsburgh into what she’s calling a fully accessible culinary studio to reignite tourism to the region that will also act as the headquarters for a not-for-profit organization.

“While we had a very successful destination restaurant in Hillsburgh for five years before the pandemic hit, we were a 30-seat restaurant and it just became economically unsustainable between the cost of inflation and three shutdowns during COVID,” Fanjoy said, adding the restaurant officially closed last March.

The initial plan was to sell the building, but Fanjoy decided to make use of the space as a place to gather which led to opening the Fanjoy Culinary and Wellness Centre which is being expanded in this latest project.

Fanjoy explained the new venture will consist of three areas that can be used for cooking classes, special events that can be catered, and serve as the headquarters for the Cooking Up Change not-for-profit which combines cooking with mental health wellness. 

“We use food as a way to bring people who are experiencing mental health concerns into the kitchen that maybe wouldn’t necessarily otherwise want to go into therapy in its traditional form,” said Fanjoy, who was a social worker for decades prior to becoming a chef. 

Cooking Up Change was a direct response to COVID and furthering its mission is why Fanjoy said they’re doing the renovation. 

The space will be fully accessible which will allow for new day programs for adults with mental health, physical and other non-visible challenges to go along with the junior chef program which will be returning to Hillsburgh.

Although no longer a restaurant and not open beyond planned events, Fanjoy said the focus remains on bringing people together through food. 

“It was never just a restaurant, it was a gathering space, a community hub,” Fanjoy said. 

“We’re going to create a special event and culinary space that will allow people to experience the best of the region.”

Fanjoy expected renovations to start ramping up in the near future with an anticipated opening date for the new centre in February 2023.

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Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for EloraFergusToday, covering Wellington County. Keegan has been working with Village Media for more than two years and helped launch EloraFergusToday in 2021.
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