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 team at Chequers Kitchen. Pieter has been a chef since moving from his native South Africa to train and work in Switzerland as a young man.

Pieter has been teaching cookery classes for the past two years at the old Chequers restaurant and it was this experience that inspired him and business partner Stephanie to develop Chequers Kitchen Cookery School.

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.

Deirdre Fenney

Deirdre FenneyDeirdre is a guest tutor at Chequers Kitchen Cookery School taking time out from her successful business Creative Foodie to teach about cooking with spices. Deirdre’s passion and enthusiasm for food is shared with customers at her regular pitch at Deal market and various farmers’ markets in Kent, and through her catering.

Hilde-Marie Smith

Hilde-Marie SmithHilde-Marie has been a Private Chef since 2004. Born in South Africa, Hilde-Marie has a passion for good honest food – knowing where everything comes from without any interference by chemicals, flavour enhancers or emulsifiers. Hilde-Marie has developed expertise in styles including Thai and Italian and is a talented and inspiring teacher. We love having her as a guest teacher at Chequers Kitchen Cookery School!

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.