Chequers Kitchen Cookery School

Bringing a brand home

Chequers Kitchen Cookery School is a collaboration between chef Pieter Van Zyl and social entrepreneur Stephanie Hayman. Its mission is teach people to cook from scratch with fresh ingredients so they can have a healthy diet, whatever their budget. It supports its social mission by also offering high-quality recreational cookery classes, team building and dining events for the general public.

I could have just worked with that, the core design brief to take the pubbiness out of the existing brand and replace it with a relaxed, modern coastal feel and the challenging deadline of a three-month refurb. But turning up makes the difference between being a supplier and being able to be part of the change that a client wants to make.

Turning up in driving wind and rain to a building site with a flooded car park really brought it home not only how much was at stake when the restaurant closed for its transformation into a fully-equipped cookery school with dining space, but what the signage challenges were for a hard-to find site on a toll road. Being welcomed out of the rain and served delicious food in the adjoining house spoke of the warmth behind the business. Meeting some of the people who went to its community cookery classes brought understanding beyond any written brief of what those classes meant on a human level.

At the heart of the food was Pieter’s love of South African home cooking. It should feel, Pieter said, like walking in to your gran’s kitchen. So I gave the identity a utility look and neutral colours. I built in to the brand identity the simplicity and flexibility to adapt to a wide variety of uses and production methods.

And there was the process design task of ensuring that artwork for items with very different production lead times – signs, aprons, display, print, graphics for the web designers, social media icons and Word templates – was ready for the soft opening.

I went along, with a custom-labelled and illustrated bottle of wine to say well done. Because I knew first-hand what had been involved.

The food is delicious. The cookery classes are thriving and growing. Go!