Souped-up for Soup-er-Bowl

Every country has its soup. My own childhood
memory of soup, is forcing down Scotch broth that had the same texture as porridge.

Heart-warming and nourishing as it
no doubt was, it did nothing to titillate fledgling taste buds.

Gradually and thankfully I came
into contact with more daring soups (for Scotland in the seventies anyway)   like
carrot and coriander, broccoli and stilton, and the surprising fact that to qualify
as   a member of the soup family, it did
not need to be glutinous and full of root vegetables.

Nowadays soups have completely
escaped from the Cinderella-at-the-meal persona and know no boundaries too

So what a perfect idea the Soup-er-Bowl
is, to create an upmarket soup kitchen using the culinary imagination of
wondrous chefs. Soups are one of the most efficient and tasty of meals to serve
en masse. A meal for many can be contained in one big soup pan, and people can
take little tastes of lots of different kinds without their digestive system
being overloaded. It also gives chefs the chance to be as adventurous as they
want to be.

Soup champion

The Soup-er-Bowl is the brain child
of the Big Brothers Big Sisters charity, a mentoring scheme that matches
children with an adult who can be their friend.

On Saturday, 6 February they hold
their second Soup –er–Bowl so the public can head along to Camana Bay Arts and Recreation
centre and invigorate their soup palate.

What is at stake here is the
accolade of soup champion extraordinaire in Cayman. And with 45 restaurants
taking part last year it really is a must in the local gastronomic calendar.

Stacey Parke from BBBS said, “This
is a friendly competition for bragging rights among local restaurants for best
soup champion. The chefs enjoy it because they get to create one-of-a-kind
recipes and showcase their culinary skills at the same time.”she added.

The perfect soup

Bacchus came in first last year
with roasted kaocha pumpkin soup and Keith Griffin, the restaurant owner and
chef at the restaurant, is gearing up to produce another winner.

According to Mr. Griffin. as a
trainee chef in 1970s London, soup was an integral part of the training. “In
London then it was very much about the French classics, onion soup and
vegetable soups. It all began to change in the ‘90s when restaurants started
doing new things. Before that soup was about using leftovers, but then chefs
started creating them from scratch.”

He explained that making the
perfect soup is about using the best products, “it’s about roasting the
vegetables using good vegetables and the right seasoning.”

From developing an early taste for
Heinz tomato soup (it’s a British thing) Mr. Griffin now loves spicy soups.  This year Bacchus is doing an Indonesian
hotpot with spicy vegetables, meat and cabbage.

Mr. Griffin said that last year
there was a great atmosphere at Soup-er-Bowl. It was casual in the best possible
sense and people understood it is all for such a good cause.

Soups in anticipation

That sentiment is echoed by Marcus
Mueri. He loves what BBBS do    and would
do anything to help them. With three restaurants entering three distinctive
soups, he has a good start on the opposition. Decker’s is making    black bean & cajun sour cream soup; Prime
a      red pepper-miso soup with shrimp;
and Abacus is entering with a beef and bacon creation.

Being Swiss, his recollection is of
hearty soups such as lentil or potatoes and leek.

He mused about what might be the Cayman
national soup and thinks it could be pepper pot soup because “it has so much

So if you want to sample soups with
personality, soups with panache, spicy soups, delicate soups then get along to
Camana Bay this Saturday. You will be supporting an organisation that really
does make a difference and get to vote for your favourite soup.

Soup-er-Bowl takes place  from 12-6p.m.

Entry: Adults: $20 dollars

 Children:$10 dollars


The Winning soup 2009

 Bacchus roasted kaocaha pumpkin 

2 lb       
fresh pumpkin, peeled & roughly cut
1 med     onion, peeled & roughly cut
1 med     carrot, peeled & roughly cut
4 cloves  garlic, peeled
1 qt        chicken stock
1 cup      heavy cream
dash       hot sauce
1 tabspn  sugar
salt & pepper to taste

1.Place the pumpkin in a roasting pan with a little oil and roast in the oven
at 400’F until golden.
2.In a sauce pan, saute the onion, carrot & garlic until tender. Add the
roasted pumpkin and the chicken stock and bring to a rapid boil.

3.Reduce heat and simmer for 30
minutes, place in a food processor and blend to a puree.

4.Return the soup to the sauce pan,
add the cream and bring back to boiling. 5.Season to taste with hot pepper
salt, pepper and a little sugar


Over 45 restaurants took part in Soup-er-Bowl 2009

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