At Sweet Berry Farm we value quality ingredients and culinary craftsmanship in our kitchen. Our Head Chef, Brian Henrique, who is celebrating his tenth season with us this year, takes pride in preparing nearly everything on the menu from scratch and using locally grown ingredients, many of them right here on our farm. We appreciate his creativity in the kitchen to invent new recipes and the way he maintains a positive work environment for his team of fifteen.
This season, Brian and his team have updated the menu quite a bit. While customer favorites, like Homestyle Meatloaf and Carrot Cake will always be stocked in our market, many new items this year have already proven to be a hit.
We sat down with Brian in our barn over some coffee to catch up on how things are going this season.
Q: How has this season been different so far?
A: This is my tenth season here. Our kitchen crew has grown: we’ve added more sous chefs and one very talented pastry chef. What I love is that everyone’s unique background gives them something valuable to contribute, whether it’s a preparation method we haven’t tried yet or a special ingredient that just brightens an entire dish. I’m inspired by the talent here. Everyone gets excited about seasonal ingredients because they’re fresh and flavorful and just make everything taste better.
Q: What is your favorite dish to cook these days?
A: I’ve really gotten into making soups this season. We make everything from scratch, including the vegetable stock and fish stock. I’ve developed several new soups, such as the Bacon Chicken Ranch, Pumpkin Curry, Creamy French Onion, Vegetable Basil Pesto, Turkey Cilantro Lime, Chicken Chili, and the Ham and Split Pea soup—that one has been especially popular. There’s nothing more satisfying and soul-warming than a bowl of steaming soup on a cold day.
Q: What dish do you enjoy eating the most?
A: It’s a tie between the Spinach Bacon and Tomato Quiche and the Italian Wedding Soup. Our Chili is also delicious. I’m a big fan of our Thanksgiving stuffing, gravy and roasted turkey.
Q: What are some of Sweet Berry Farm’s most popular dishes?
A: We are most-often restocking pumpkin bread, chocolate pudding cake, and key lime pie. Customers love Chef Scott’s homemade meatloaf and salmon dishes. Some days it seems that we can’t stock the shelves fast enough. A big seller this season is the Steak Teriyaki Over Vegetable Rice made with sirloin beef — a simple but flavorful dish I developed this year.
Q: What about desserts?
A: Our top-selling dessert, hands down, is our made-from-scratch carrot cake. I must say, it’s delicious. Our key lime pies and Boston cream pies are also best sellers. Our new pastry chef, Kathleen, has been preparing beautiful cakes and cupcakes with floral designs. The seasonal pastries, like the sunflower cake she created in August, and the pumpkin cupcakes she’s been making this fall have been big hits.
Q: What’s the secret to Sweet Berry’s delicious desserts?
A: We use the highest quality ingredients including Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla extract, Callebaut Belgian chocolate, pure butter, and Nielsen Massey pure orange extract. Our cakes are made within 24 hours of ordering, so they’re always fresh. If you don’t buy it, I’m eating it!
Q: What can you tell us about the Thanksgiving menu at Sweet Berry Farm?
A: Thanksgiving is the busiest and most exciting time of year in the Sweet Berry kitchen. Customers can order all the classic Thanksgiving favorites prepared from scratch, the way our grandmas made them. You’ll find Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Creamy Macaroni & Cheese, Apple & Sausage Stuffing, Cheddar & Chive Biscuits and a stunning Baked Brie en Croûte which is a real crowd-pleaser. We cook everything: from the bisque to the bird. There are also plenty of vegetarian items, like Butternut and Winter Squash Lasagna.
Q: What’s it like to manage the kitchen staff?
A: I enjoy managing because they make it easy! They listen to my input and we genuinely like each other. I’m also a big hugger and like to make sure everyone is doing ok. I stay open-minded and appreciate feedback from my crew. Giving the staff creative freedom to experiment with new dishes and flavors expands our offerings and generally results in something amazing.
Q: What kind of music do you like to listen to while you work?
A: Usually it’s 70s rock, reggae and top hits. To keep things fair, I make sure everyone gets a chance to hear their favorite music. We can only listen to the same thing every day for so long—unless it’s jazz. We can all agree on jazz.
Q: How do you spend free time away from the farm?
A: I really enjoy golfing, surfing, and spending time with loved ones. I’ve also been fishing a lot with the kitchen staff. We go out for blue fish, stripers, and tuna around Aquidneck Island. We catch it, cook, and eat it together.
The food Brian and his team prepare is fresh and delicious. You can be sure that your meal was made with care and much respect for local flavor. Enjoy sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries right in our café, or take out heat-and-eat meals from our market any day of the week.