Soup Taste Test Held for Bean's Cafe Benefit
Winning two soups will be served at Empty Bowl Project fundraiser
ANCHORAGE - Side Street Espresso in Anchorage was filled with more than just coffee lovers Tuesday afternoon. People filed in and lined up for free soup for a good cause.
“We usually participate in the Empty Bowl Project every year, so I like to have a say in which soup I'm going to eat at that time. It's a fun thing for us to come and do,” said Angie White.
The Empty Bowl Project is one of Bean’s Café’s biggest fundraisers; local potters donate bowls that get filled up with soup at the annual event.
White was one of dozens of people who came out to help decide what will be on the menu this year.
There were five contenders: Two meat -- Senate Bean and White Bean with Kale -- and three vegetarian -- Vegan Black Bean, Carrot, and Ecuadorian Bean.
Three were made by home cooks. The Senate Bean was whipped up by Alaska’s own Miss Alaska, Jessica Fulton, and was taking on the White Bean with Kale in the meat division.
“I definitely think I'm going to have competition. Even though I have ham hock in it, I think people just love bacon. But I don't know, a lot of people get turned off by kale so I'm not sure,” said Fulton.
The other two soups came from chefs at the Spenard Roadhouse and Snow City Café. Customers didn’t know who was behind the creations and had to depend on their palates to decide their favorite.
“I like the creaminess because the beans are purred as well,” White said about the carrot soup. “It feels like a dense, wintry soup that I would probably make myself.”
Fulton tried all three vegetarian and declared the carrot soup her favorite. “Even though it looked like baby food, the flavor makes up for it.”
For Bean’s Café staff, the taste testing is a fun way to get people behind an important cause, making sure everyone in the community has enough to eat.
“We're not asking for their money, we're not asking for their time volunteering, we're asking them to make a fun soup and submit a recipe and so it's a new, unique way to get involved,” said Community Outreach Director Katherine Jernstrom.
Taste testers tossed away their empty sample cups then filled out a ballot.
In the end, Snow City Café won the meat category with its White Bean with Kale and Bacon, and home chef Marco Martinez got the vegetarian vote with his Locro de Habas, also know as the Ecuadorian Bean Soup.