Glenwoods Downtown Market hosts annual soup contest
GLENWOOD SPRINGS John Pataky knows you can add almost anything to a soup. He also knows thats not the point.The secret is putting some feeling into it, he explained. Because you can make a soup out of any ingredients, but you want to put your heart and soul into it.Thats the holistic approach he plans to take during Tuesdays soup showdown. At the last Glenwood Springs Downtown Market of the season, Pataky, the owner and manager of Rosis Little Bavarian Restaurant & Pastry Shop, will be one of at least 10 food professionals dueling in the annual soup contest. Like every year, the public will be able to get in on the action. For $5, everyone can get a taste of all the different entries and get a say in who wins. The champion is chosen by public consensus, via secret ballot.As a different business has been crowned each of the events five years, the winner of this years title is anyones guess.Some contestants see it differently, though.Last years winner, Greg Avila, for example, is so eager to win that he got his application in weeks ago. As the assistant kitchen manager at the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub, he makes all the soups and specials at the place, among other duties. Hes bound and determined to show that the success of his last submission, a creamy zucchini and asiago cheese concoction, was no fluke. As he sees it, the key to this is his skill and patience.Its about slow, slowly cooking stuff, he said. And not adding all the ingredients at the same time.
Veggies should be crisp, he went on. The flavor should be powerful. And nothing should be thrown together. While Avila loves the social atmosphere of the event, he also issued a playful warning to his competitors.Guys be ready this year, he said. Ill do it again.Ron Jackson, however, isnt going to go down without a fight. A chef for three decades and an executive chef at the Hotel Colorado for the last year, this is his first competition at the market. The self-declared soup person sounds ready for it, too.I feel confident, he said, of his grafton cheddar and pork belly creation. Theres an endless list of things to make soup from, he explained. The point is to choose wisely and not get too complex. A little hint of something different never hurt, either. Before the public eats his dish, he plans on adding a splash of arugula pesto to each cup. Hes hoping that extra little bang of flavor will make all the difference.This one knocks my socks off, he said. Its really good.What the public thinks, of course, is another matter.Last year, they didnt quite vote Eric Dellacolles celery root and goat cheese soup the top of the heap. This time, Atmospheres French-born chef is hoping to wow them with a tomato-based one, though he hasnt figured out the details yet. He just knows it will full of good produce, and will be, in his words, something locals have never tried before.Kristin Mul is hoping theyll favor her spicy and creamy sweet potato and coconut milk entry. As the owner Convenient Cuisine Personal Chef Service, shes spent years cooking for people and feeling out just what makes a dish successful. In her opinion, they like food that hits several different parts of their palate. Even if the meal is simple, playing with its flavor can make it exciting.Mul, one of the only women in the competition, is definitely excited about it, at least.Im happy to take on the challenge for all of female kind, she joked.These all these folks might sound like fierce, dedicated competitors, Pataky is unworried. This year, he plans to make a soup entirely out of fresh produce from the market, but beyond that, hes simply waiting for inspiration. Though his wild mushroom and brie cheese mixture came in first two years ago, he knows taking home that traveling trophy isnt the most important thing about this Tuesday. This is about carrying on his Hungarian familys love of food, about getting to hang out with the public and a bunch of fellow restaurateurs. Most importantly, its about making the best soup he can for people.Its not the winning part for me, he said. I think its more a community gathering than a competition.What a tasty tradition.
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