If you ask a Durham Region resident their favourite restaurants in the area, their list of recommendations typically includes Berry Hill. And while the name hails from across the sea (more on that later), Berry Hill Food Company will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary and is as entrenched in the local community as they come.
Known for their amazing pizzas and gourmet comfort food (not to mention their fun cocktails and specially sourced and curated wine list!), Berry Hill has an international flair you can’t miss.
Serving brunch, lunch and dinner, the artfully devised menu with flavours from around the world will come as no surprise once you hear the backstory of Berry Hill’s head chef and co-owner, Sarah Chiapparro. From growing up in a family that always cooked together to co-owning a restaurant at a young age, her passion for cuisines and cooking has grown and evolved over the years and throughout her travels. After attending culinary school at George Brown College, she worked and learned at various upscale restaurants in Toronto (the CN Tower among them), before venturing out of North America to work in the Mediterranean and then down south in the islands. Over the course of 25 years, Sarah held a variety of positions, and through working on yachts as a private chef, running a restaurant in St. Kitts and more, Sarah mastered the tips and tricks to bringing delicious fusion flavours to life. It was while working
It was while working as an executive chef at a restaurant in Bermuda that Sarah met and fell in love with her husband and now business partner, Jorge Chiapparro. The pair got married, had a baby and moved into a cute little home called Peach Tree Cottage on Berry Hill (aha, there it is!).
Sarah and Jorge always knew they would move back to Oshawa one day, so after they started their family, they knew it was time. They moved back to Canada and launched Berry Hill Food Co. in downtown Oshawa in April of 2013 and haven’t looked back.
In addition to the restaurant, the duo also manages BH Caters, a full-service catering company that offers a wide range of food items, boxed lunches, baked goods and more. BH Caters now also specializes in customized platters to suite any function — from intimate gatherings up to largerscale events.
As a community favourite for both a sit-down restaurant experience and catered options, Sarah understands and appreciates that they are there for the highs and lows of their patrons’ lives and says, “When I’m training new staff, I always say: “You never know who’s walking through the door,” because they might just be coming in for a coffee and you’ve never seen them before, but we might have catered their wedding, and maybe we also catered a funeral for them. We’re more than just the restaurant — we’re there for the important parts of people’s lives, and it’s still a small community even though it feels big.”
Sarah has always enjoyed both baking and cooking, and between the restaurant, catered offerings, and also operating The Tea House Restaurant at Parkwood Estate, Sarah is thankful to get her fix of both passions. (Fun fact: Sarah first worked at Parkwood Estates as an 18-year-old, and then again as a chef 10 years later, and Berry Hill Food Co. is now contracted by Parkwood. Talk about a community connection coming full circle.).
The couple’s tasty offerings don’t stop there, and their latest endeavour is MIXTA, a quick-service restaurant in the Oshawa Centre. Jorge is from South America, and their goal for this Central-and-Latin-American- inspired spot is to offer food that is a fun, fast and a healthier alternative to some of the heavier traditional dishes more commonly available in those locales.
Life has undoubtedly been an adventure for the duo, but they’ve certainly made their mark on the community here and are thankful for the journey, and the special connections they’ve been able to make along the way.
“We’ve gone through some challenging years with COVID, but connections within the community are starting to be re-established, and, as cheesy as it is to say, the best part of what we do here is the people,” she says. “With our location downtown, we’re in the arts hub and we’re close to places like the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, CORE21 and City Hall, and people come here to have their business meetings. You get to chat with people between meetings and get to know the people who make our community a better place. The people who come in here are doing things and they’re pushing positive changes and we get to see them while they’re resting between all of that, and it’s been really special to make those community connections.”


1. For the Cake

  • 2
    cortland apples
  • 6 oz.
    medjool dates
  • 3/4 cup
    hot coffee
  • 1-1/2 cup
    self-raising flour
  • pinch
    kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup
    unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup
    dark brown sugar
    (plus 1 tbsp for apples)
  • 1
  • vanilla ice cream to serve

2. For the Toffee Sauce

  • 1 cup
    heavy cream
  • 1 cup
    dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup
  • pinch
    sea salt
  • COMBINE sauce ingredients in sauce pan and bring to a simmer, stirring often, until sauce is shiny and coats the back of a spoon (8 to 10 min).
  • PRE-HEAT oven to 370º.
  • PEEL and small dice apples. Toss with 1 tbsp brown sugar and bake for 7 to 9 min, until soft but not mushy. Set aside.
  • DROP oven temperature to 350º.
  • POUR hot coffee over chopped and pitted dates, let stand
  • Meanwhile, COMBINE butter and suga, beat until fluffy.
  • ADD egg to date mixture. Add self-raising flour and mix until combined.
  • MIX in apples.
  • PORTION mixture into buttered and floured 1/2 cup ramekins or muffin tins.
  • BAKE 20 min until wooden pick comes out clean.
  • COOK slightly, then unmold cakes keeping upside down. Using wooden skewer, prick multiple holes in the tops of each cake, then spoon over toffee sauce slowly so cake absorbs sauce. This is the trick to a moist sticky toffee pudding
  • TOP with vanilla ice cream and pour warm toffee sauce overtop to serve.

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