Gainesville-area restaurants and chefs go bowl-to-bowl in soup competition

Souper Fun Sunday will benefit St. Francis Catholic High School


Chef William Hernandez of Saboré Restaurant in Tioga Town Center prepares Lychee Corn Soup. For Sunday's Souper Fun benefit for St. Francis Catholic High School, the world-fusion chef plans on turning down the heat with a chilled lychee gazpacho.

Rayiaz Khan/Correspondent
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 7:13 p.m.

A can of Campbell's soup doesn't always cut it at the dinner table. And it's certainly not going to cut it at Souper Fun Sunday — a tasty competition bringing together some of the most kitchen-coordinated chefs in the area.

Now in its fourth year, the soup-off, which benefits St. Francis Catholic High School, is an opportunity to slurp various bisques and broths for a good cause — and, hopefully, a few new meal ideas.



Taren Triggs, the publicity director for the event, said there are more than 35 soups on the menu this year, which means there's a stew for even the toughest taste buds. And with that kind of variety, it's no wonder soup is considered such a family-friendly food.

"There's a lot of tradition around family recipes," Triggs said. "Aside from [soup] being a comfort food, a lot of wonderful flavors can be put into one dish."

The best part: It's a lot of spoons for a little clean-up, she said.

"It's a one-dish food, so you're not making a lot of mess," she said. "You can hold it in a bowl and sit at the couch and watch the game."

Before the competition heats up Sunday, serve up some soup straight from the recipe books of some of the participating chefs.

Institute of Culinary Arts at Eastside High School, Chef Billie DeNunzio

They may be the youngest chefs stirring up the competition, but the students of Eastside High School make big things happen in the kitchen.

"The students just want to give back and help another school," instructor DeNunzio said, adding that her students are excited to meet the competition, who may be their future employers.

About 25 students conceived the recipe for a healthful Callaloo Soup, which is Caribbean-inspired and topped with thyme they grow themselves.

Callaloo Soup

Servings: 12

2 medium diced onions

4 garlic cloves

1 celery stalk

8 ounces of butter

16 ounces of dasheen leaves

8 ounces of okra

2 teaspoons of thyme

1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

4 ounces of coconut

64 ounces of chicken stock

16 ounces of crab meat

salt and pepper to taste

12 crab claws

Chop onions, garlic and celery stalk and leaves; saute in butter until soft. Chop dasheen leaves, and add to onions and garlic. Simmer for 10 minutes. Chop the okra, and add along with the thyme and cloves. Continue to cook on low heat for another 10 minutes or until the leaves and the okra are cooked. Blend mixture in a food processor, but do not puree. Add coconut, chicken stock and crab, and simmer for five minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot garnished with a crab claw.

Saboré, Chef William Hernandez

Hernandez will be playing it cool at the competition — literally. The world fusion chef plans on whipping up a lychee gazpacho, which is served chilled in individual shot glasses.

"The restaurant is very unique to Gainesville," restaurant co-owner Peter Ynigo said. "For us, we're just trying to open everyone's mind to something new when it comes to soup."

Coconut, Crab and Lychee Fruit Soup

Servings: 8

3 8-ounce cans of lychee fruit

4 8-ounce cans of coconut milk

4 ounces of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 ounces of cilantro

1 pound of lump crab meat

salt and white pepper to taste

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the coconut milk, cilantro, ginger and lychee fruit. Blend all of these ingredients to a fine puree. After the soup is blended, refrigerate for 8 hours before serving. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Serve in a martini glass, and garnish with the lump crab meat.

Embers Wood Grill, Chef Briton Dumas

What's better than one bowl of soup? For chef Dumas, the answer is simple: two bowls of soup. The chef is going through double the trouble by serving up two types of soup at the competition because he likes to "do things a little out of the ordinary."

First on the menu: a rich King Crab Bisque, which won the title of "People's Choice" at last year's competition.

"It's a 100 percent crowd-pleaser," he said. "Unless you're allergic to shellfish."

Dumas will also serve up Tomatillo Soup garnished with wood-grilled filet mignon.

King Crab Bisque

Servings: 8

Stock:

1 diced Vidalia onion

2 diced celery ribs

2 diced carrots

3 king crab leg shells (meat reserved)

2 bay leaves

1 gallon of water

In a large stockpot, saute carrots, celery and onion until soft (the onions should be translucent). Add king crab shells, bay leaves and water. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a container to remove solids. Discard solids and reserve liquids for bisque.

Bisque:

1 quart king crab stock (above)

1 quart heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup of roux (1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup flour mixed)

2 pounds jumbo lump blue crab (or king crab cut into large chunks)

salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

In heavy bottom pot or double boiler, bring crab stock to a simmer. Add roux a little at a time to desired thickness and then add heavy cream. Cook on low for at least 15 minutes, then season to taste with salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper.

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