Chef Tim: Mentor, Teacher, & Salad Czar

Chef Tim sweet berry farm ri.jpg

Be sure to bring your appetite when you visit our farm market and café. We offer a wide range of homemade comfort food from chicken salad to creamy macaroni & cheese to buttery chocolate chip cookies. Our chefs make nearly everything from scratch and incorporate farm-grown favorites that are fresh and nutritious. They bring a wide range of experience and skill to the food they create here in our kitchen, and we’re proud to say than several members of our team have been with us since we opened!

One of the very first chefs we ever hired here at Sweet Berry Farm is Chef Tim. During his time here, he has become a mentor to colleagues, including Chef Brian, who says: “He's a great teacher who is very patient and passionate about cooking.”

Here he shares a bit about how he got started what he does when he’s not cooking.

Q: What’s your culinary background?
A: I had some hands-on experience, including a catering job with Chickaddee Catering in Westerly that I held before attending Johnson & Wales. While catering, I gained experience cooking for customers in some of the most elite areas and homes in New England. Once I even prepared the meal at an event for Jackie Kennedy on Fishers Island. After graduating from Johnson & Wales, I took a job with Blackstone Caterers before joining the team at Sweet Berry Farm.

Q: What is your role here at the farm?
A: I’m responsible for the cold food preparation, as well as cutting and preparing our cheese case. I occasionally travel with Michelle [Sweet Berry Farm’s co-owner] to learn how to make cheese. That’s really a lot of fun. We recently travelled to a farm in North Kingstown to lean the method used by a Vermont-based cheese maker.

Q: What type of cooking are you known for?
A: I love preparing comfort food, and my signature dishes are chicken salad, potato salad, and corn and black bean salad.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: My parents were both artists by trade. I didn’t get that bug, but my mom was also a really good cook. I used to help prepare family holiday meals. I created hors d'oeuvres to serve at the cocktail parties we hosted for customers of our family business and I really enjoyed it. Funny enough, the potato salad we make here at the farm has become one of my signature dishes, and it was my mother’s recipe.

Q: What do you like to do outside of the kitchen?
A: I’m a mentor at the Metropolitan School in Providence for the past two years. It’s a trade school for kids who are trying to figure out what they want to be, and I mentor some of the students that want to go into the culinary field. Actually, a few of them will be attending Johnson & Wales next year.

I've also volunteered at the soup kitchen at St. Joseph’s Church in Newport for three years, where I still volunteer to prepare St. Patrick’s Day dinner every year.

Q: If you weren’t cooking, what else could you picture doing for work?
A: Customizing cars. I almost went to school for that, because I like working with my hands.