At the age of just 7, Kees Beyers already knew that one day he would own a chocolate factory. He started selling sweet treats to friends and family and at the age of 12 he began his studies at the prestigious Piva School in Antwerp. Kees qualified as a pastry chef at Ter Groene Poorte in Bruges when he was just 17. So deep was his passion that between the ages of 13 and 17, Kees woke up at 4:30am every Saturday and Sunday, to cycle to work part-time for a confectioner in a town near his home.
When he was 18, Kees travelled to South Africa to visit his sister who had immigrated. His intention was to work for a few months, travel around the country and return to Belgium, but this was not to be. Kees fell in love with South Africa as quickly as he fell in love with chocolate.
Within two days of being in South Africa, Kees was employed by Marriot Chain (now Air Chefs), and after three months he decided to make this his permanent home. During his 18 months at Marriot Chain he became aware of the huge lack of quality confectionery in the country and, coming from Belgium where fine chocolate is the norm, he wanted to give South Africans luxury, affordable chocolates they could eat every day. And so, in 1987 at the age of just 20, Kees Beyers Chocolates was founded.
While his dream of owning a chocolate factory has come true, Kees never stops enriching his knowledge in the art of chocolate and confectionery making. He is now a Master Chocolatier, through L’école de Chocolat, and he still works closely with his staff members, to ensure that all Beyers Chocolates meet his exact standards of high quality. Just like Kees, Beyers Chocolates are the perfect combination of Belgian traditions and South African inspiration.