‘Soup, it’s like a hug in a bowl’: Soupfest comes to Fredericton

St. Thomas University student Kayla Doody co-organized the Soupfest with Katie Beers. (Elizabeth Polk/AQ)

The NFL Super Bowl isn’t the only Super Bowl that happened last week. Soup fanatics battled it out to win the ultimate Soupfest Super Bowl at the first-ever Fredericton Soupfest.

United Way held the event at the Multicultural Association on Jan. 31.

Kayla Doody, a fourth-year student at St. Thomas University, was a co-organizer of Fredericton’s Soupfest. She’s been working with United Way since the summer of 2017.

“We are always trying to find new way to engage people and the community and giving back,” she said.

About 250 people attended and were given the opportunity to taste 13 different soups and rank their top three choices.

Nick Jordan, the kitchen manager of Dolan’s Pub, entered a soup into the competition.

“I think the bacon is what’s gonna make us win,” said Jordan. Unfortunately, Jordan’s soup didn’t make the cut.

The Community Kitchen served stone soup and the Radisson served roasted butternut squash and apple bisque soup.

Green Party leader David Coon and Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien attended. They both love soup.

“Soup is comfy,” Coon said. “It warms up my insides to match my outside … cold soup defeats the purpose for me.”

Luckily for Coon, only hot soups were served at the competition.

Patti Hollenberg, the owner of Chess Piece Pâtisserie, submitted a soup.

“Soup, it’s like a hug in a bowl,” she said.

Laurie Richard, a co-owner and chef at the Abbey Café & Gallery, said soup reminds her of childhood.

“You’ve always had soup, your mother made you soup. I’d go home for lunch, there’d be soup,” said Richard.

Richard and other chefs said soup is one of the most popular items on their menus.

Katie Beers, the head organizer for Soupfest, got the idea from the same festival that was held in Moncton.

She helped organize the Moncton event for two years before deciding it was a must-have for Fredericton.

“It’s just a really fun way to bring the community together,” Beers said.

North Meets South Catering came in first place with their roasted red bell pepper and shrimp bisque. The Multicultural Association of Fredericton came third with their carrot and sweet potato soup.

Chris Taylor, the head chef of [catch] Urban Grill, came in second place with his seafood chowder.

“I look at soup as a story, you need to see all the levels,” Taylor said.

“You need depth in your soup.”

Taylor said the winning chowder is the Urban Grill’s signature recipe and was created at the hotel. He added that a lot of work goes into the soup.

“A lot of love goes into it, so you get a lot of love,” he said.

Both Beers and Doody are excited to see what next year’s Soupfest brings.

“If you’ve got time to make a soup, hit us up,” Doody said.