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Taste testers declare Squamish's best soup

Cedar Valley Waldorf School second annual Soup-Off draws half dozen chefs

The second annual ultimate Soup Off challenge took place at the Cedar Valley Waldorf School's annual May Fair, on Saturday (May 8), and the competition was fierce.

"Local chefs went head to head in a contest that blew everyone's soup-tasting socks off," said Soup-Off fundraiser co-ordinator Jennifer Thompson, also president of the Cedar Valley Waldorf School parent initiative council.

For only $5, fair-goers had a chance to taste six soups, with partial proceeds going towards the Squamish Helping Hands Society.

Original soup creations included barbecue beef brisket by The Nest, butternut squash with corn and bacon from The Cup Bistro & Deli, lentil and chick pea curry from the Squamish Valley Golf & Country Club, African yam and peanut from Zephyr Café, chicken dumpling soup from The Burrow and roasted chicken and corn chowder from the 2009 Squamish's best soup title holder Copper House.

After tasting all six creations in mini cups, participants cast their vote for Squamish's best soup and received a regular portion of their favourite along with fresh buns or biscuits, making it a real meal deal.

"All the soups were remarkably different, and all of them were delicious, which made for an intense competition," said Thompson, adding that anticipation mounted as the over 100 votes came in, with several recounts occurring before a winner could be declared.

"The votes were all nearly equal," she said.

In the end chef Steve Fecho of The Cup Bistro & Deli won the 2010 designation for Best Soup of Squamish for his subtle and creamy delight, the roasted butternut squash sensation.

"I'm actually quite happy to have won, to be picked the crowd favourite," Fecho said, adding it's the first cooking competition he's ever won.

"It's pretty exciting. People ask us all the time for the soup we made at last year's Soup-Off, so I guess we may be looking forward to more of that with this one."

The key to Fecho's success may have come from his choice of local, seasonal B.C. vegetables. But what likely pushed him over the top is the "homemade" bacon with meat from Vancouver Island that Fecho prepared himself.

"That seems to have really sealed the deal for a lot of people," he said. "Everybody loves bacon."

Thompson said the Cedar Valley Waldorf School's 2010 May Fair was a great success -attracting people from the community and as far as Whistler and Vancouver.

"Everyone enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, the music, kid's activities and crafts events, and some serious culinary feasts," she said. "We had incredible weather and an amazing turnout.

"The community really came out to support us and make us feel welcome. It couldn't have been better."

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