This year, Boston Bakes is dedicated to the memory of Toni Berry, mother of Tom Berry, Culinary Director of COJE Management, who is a longtime participant of our event. After being in remission for many years, Toni’s breast cancer came back. She passed away at the age of 49, just after she received her undergraduate degree from UNH with the intention of being able to receive advancements in her field of purchasing.
Tom had a special relationship with his mother along with many special memories. Toni, who had served in the military, settled in New Hampshire all the way from Leakey, Texas with her husband, 23 years her senior. He remembers with deep fondness how hard she always worked and how she often thought of everyone and what they needed.
Toni worked in the purchasing department of University of New Hampshire. She loved to make crafts for family and friends including quilts and Christmas tree ornaments which her son, Tom, uses every year on his Christmas tree. Occasionally, Tom’s mother would cook Southern food, but she was a better baker. Her zucchini bread, which she made with the zucchinis from her garden, was a family favorite. Her zucchini bread recipe is still being made and enjoyed by the Berry family.
Toni was an avid gardener and her tomatoes, Toni Tomatos, were famous. Many years after her death, Tom found seeds that Toni had left in an envelope, which had been stored away, never realizing they were there. When the seeds were planted, they remarkably came to life. Now there are 3 generations of seeds from the tomato seeds Tom found which are planted every year.
When Toni was fighting breast cancer, it was devastating for Tom to watch. He supports our organization and the research we sponsor with the same hope of our organization so that no family or child has to go through what he did. Throughout the years, when Tom became a chef and now as culinary director, Tom has participated, wherever he was working, in our events. In the past, Tom has even gone dessert hopping during Boston Bakes! Now as Culinary Director at COJE Management, all of his restaurants including, Yvonne’s, Ruka, and Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar participate in Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer with incredible desserts.