We’re excited to introduce you to Doreen Beattie — our new chef, who joined our talented kitchen crew this season! Doreen is bringing a fresh energy all her own to Sweet Berry’s café menu, combining her experience and creativity to cook up all kinds of must-try dishes. Her natural artistic abilities come across in the food she prepares. We sat down with Doreen to learn more about her background, culinary path, and what’s on the menu. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: When did you first develop an interest in the culinary world?
A: I grew up in a big family! There were seven of us. I actually began cooking at eight years old, making dinner for the family once a week.
Q: What has your experience before joining the Sweet Berry Farm team?
A: I’ve been in charge of kitchens for more than 33 years. I gained great experience as a sous chef at the Atlantic Beach Club kitchen in Newport for 15 years [now the Newport Beach House]. Before that, I spent a decade as executive chef at the former Greenhouse Restaurant.
Q: What kinds of recipes are you cooking up?
A: I make a little bit of everything that’s served in our café and market, from quiche to mac and cheese, lasagna, and chicken pot pie. I use my own marinara sauce for lasagna. I also enjoy preparing Mexican cuisine — salsa verde chicken enchiladas, chicken taquitos, and more. But desserts and sweets are my favorite to make, from lemon bars to stuffed cupcakes, and bread pudding. In fact, the brownies we sell in the market are my own personal recipe.
Q: What would you say you like most about your job?
A: I love using local ingredients. Michelle [Sweet Berry Farm co-owner] occasionally brings me fruit or vegetables that are overstocked in the market, which lends itself to creativity in the kitchen. I recently made peaches and cream tarts with almonds from an extra bushel of peaches we had. It sold within an hour! I also created a stuffed pear poached with goat cheese, cranberries, and almonds. I like to experiment with flavor combinations, and highlight seasonal produce.
Q: Is there anything else you can share about yourself to help us get to know you better?
A: I’ve always been interested in drawing and painting. I may get back to it someday. But for now I satisfy my creativity by inventing new dishes in the kitchen.