Chequers Kitchen's at "Deal Seafront" - Photo by David Anstiss (CC BY-SA 2.0)

About Us

Our mission is teach people to cook from scratch with fresh ingredients so they can access a healthy diet, whatever their budget.

As a social enterprise we support our social mission by also offering high quality recreational cookery classes, team building and dining events for the general public.

  • About Chequers Kitchen

    We have created a beautiful venue between Deal and Sandwich Bay, where you can come to cook your heart out, or dine on Pieter’s delicious food!. Chequers Kitchen Cookery School was created and is led by head chef, Pieter Van Zyl, and social entrepreneur, Stephanie Hayman. We hope to surpass all your expectations!

  • What We Do

    We offer a wide range of cookery courses including knife skills and artisan bread-making, themed demo & dine events to celebrate food from around the world, activities for schools, corporate team-building events, and cater to private events like holidays, wedding receptions, christenings, and more.

  • Our Social Enterprise

    We are a Community Interest Company with a social duty to the local community. Through our Keen 2Cook courses, we teach local people from Dover, Deal and Sandwich to cook within a tight budget whilst using fresh, healthy ingredients in order to help them attain a healthy diet. Find out more »


Meet Our Team

Peter Van Zyl

Pieter van ZylChef Pieter van Zyl leads many of the cookery courses and heads the food and education team at Chequers Kitchen. Pieter has been a chef since moving from his native South Africa to train in hotel management in Switzerland as a young man. Pieter has previously owned two successful restaurants and now is co-owner of Chequers Kitchen Cookery School.

Pieter designs our cookery workshop programme, teaches recreational cookery classes, cooks for private dining events and leads team-building experiences here at Chequers Kitchen. He’s a busy man!

Stephanie Hayman

Stephanie HaymanYou won’t find Stephanie anywhere near the kitchen but she is the organizational brain behind Chequers Kitchen Cookery School. Stephanie makes sure the School runs smoothly and works behind the scenes to develop our social enterprise goals and Keen2Cook classes.

In 2013, Stephanie was recognized as Kent Life and Kent on Sunday’s Fine Food and Drink Hero for her work in raising the standards of school food in East Kent through Whole School Meals CIC.

Ralph Cade

Ralph CadeRalph has always had a passion for food. He cooked his first omelette at the age of six. After a career in London, Ralph set up The Dining Club in Deal seven years ago, bringing a different menu to the table every week for over 5 years. He now prefers simpler dishes where it’s all about flavour and sharing food, recipes and skills.

Ralph teaches young people at our community classes; he developed our project that brings older people and teenagers together to get inspired in the kitchen and bridge the generation gap.

Liza Woodgate – NONA

Liza Woodgate, NONALiza is a regular guest tutor at Chequers Kitchen Cookery School, taking time out from her catering business, NONA, to teach dishes from the east, including Malaysian, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine. Liza’s love of food reaches back to her mother’s traditional Malaysian cooking and the strong family culture of welcoming visitors with delicious and abundant food.

Sugarcane Thonglor

Sugarcane - Thai cookSugarcane hails from the beautiful island of Ko Samui in Thailand. She ran her family’s hotel and restaurant for many years and now we benefit from her knowledge of authentic Thai cooking. Sugarcane teaches Thai cookery to adults, families and children here at Chequers Kitchen Cookery School and her Thai dishes are also a popular choice for our team building experience days.

Chris King

Chris King stroke survivor and chefChris is a stroke survivor and former chef with 30 years’ experience. His fascinating career ranged from cooking in the army – breakfast for a thousand soldiers encamped on Salisbury Plain – to cooking for the royal family at Goodwood. Chris now teaches and demonstrates everyday dishes adapted for stroke survivors with mobility difficulties. Chris is an inspiration, cooking with the use of one arm only and never failing to encourage and support those in a similar position to his own. Chris’s regular online demonstrations for the Stroke Association regularly attract up to 50 viewers and are now being recorded and made available on our YouTube channell.

Based by the seaside in Deal, Kent

Our location in East Kent, alongside Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course, is both beautiful and convenient with easy access from Deal, Sandwich and Dover, Kent. Behind the scenes, we are a social enterprise offering free and subsidised Keen2Cook classes for low income and disadvantaged local people.