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Chef opens gourmet restaurant in Warkworth

Doug Hope has opened ‘Sper Restaurant in Warkworth.

Doug Hope has opened ‘Sper Restaurant in Warkworth. SUBMITTED PHOTO

John Allport

Special to Northumberland Today

Some predictions do come to pass.  

Two years ago, we told you that world-renowned chef, Doug Hope, a Northumberland local, planned to open a gourmet whole-earth restaurant in Warkworth. 

True to his word, Chef Hope threw open the doors of his ‘Sper Restaurant in the recent holiday season, all with great success and acclaim and a jam-packed reservation book.

Rave reports from fine food lovers quickly followed. First off the mark, via Instagram and Twitter, was Jeanne Beker, the well-known Canadian television personality, fashion designer, author and newspaper columnist. Dining the night before the New Year, @thejeannebeker tweeted “Chef Doug Hope masters the art of farm-to-table at ‘SPER, the hippest new eatery in Northumberland County”. Pictured on Instagram with one of her dining companions, she went on “With the ever-cool Margaret Trudeau at the cool new Warkworth restaurant ‘SPER. A great nite …”.  So, the secret of this new Northumberland destination is now out!

‘Sper Restaurant (the name is an amusing play on the international word for ‘hope’) is not like any other between Toronto and Montreal. Seating only 18-20 depending on configuration, it offers a 7pm seating, harvest table style, on each of Friday and Saturday nights. Fully licensed, with wine pairings cheerfully offered, the format is ‘prix fixe’, and at just $65 for 6 amazing courses over 3+ hours, bookings for this unique dining experience may soon be as scarce as the rare ingredients which Chef Hope weaves into his heavenly dishes. 

And weave he does. Starting from locally sourced meats and produce wherever possible, including ducks, turkeys, geese, quail, hogs and vegetables from his own ‘Sper Farm, Chef Hope includes local beef, lamb, and bison as the foundation for many courses. These are then combined in ways seldom seen with such delights as cattail and pine pollen, sumac flour, rosehip, original native crabapple, dolgo apples, wild Ontario grapes, hawthorn berries and birch syrup. Presentations are imaginative, and can include such forms as puree, parfait, wurst, sorbet, confit and liqueur infusion, all to set off the exquisite flavours of our Northumberland bounty.

If there are comparable restaurants within 150km, you won’t need all the fingers of one hand to count them. Lucky us! For reservations, see

John Allport lives on a farm near Warkworth with a couple of pet horses, and has a passion for the preservation and restoration of the natural world.