The votes are in and the Heidout’s Chef Rusty Cox is advancing in the Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge, after beating out fellow chef Graham Barnes of Max’s Place in the first round on Monday morning.
The two cooked up separate soups at the Salvation Army soup kitchen and served them to their clientele, which voted 31-24 in favour of Cox.
Cox won over the Salvation Army clientele with a curried sausage and squash soup with vegetables and grains, while Barnes challenged with his creation of a cream of cauliflower and cheddar.
Clientele were served the two soups along with a sandwich and a dessert. and were encouraged to cast their vote afterwards.
The two chefs began their epic battle in the morning as they arrived in an unfamiliar kitchen, and began taking stock of what they had to work with.
Cox and Barnes were unfamiliar with the facilities at the soup kitchen, however, all the equipment and tools were more than sufficient.
“Extreme happiness, said Cox, of his first impression of the kitchen. “Lots of products, the stove, the pots, everything is excellent quality, so that’s nice.”
The two had access to the entire soup kitchen, including items and spices which were all donated.
“There’s tons of different ingredients, so we can build in any direction we want,” said Barnes.
“The first few things I looked at, I thought I could just go with that.”
Though it was a competition between the two chefs, it was a friendly atmosphere within the kitchen. Though there were no hijinks, there was always the potential for a few mystery spices to go into a soup pot should one chef have his back turned.
“It was like old times, we used to work beside each other for two years,” said Cox.
Added Barnes: ” It was like working together again, with all the shenanigans. It was fun.”
Both chefs were allowed one special item or tool from their own kitchens. Barnes brought a handheld blender while Cox brought something a little more inspirational: a stuffed Homer Simpson caricature.
“He just makes me happy,” joked Cox.
Tuesday will feature another round at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen as Chef Shelby Schiller of BJ’s Diner and Creekside Pub in Kimberley will face off with Chef Barb Smythe of the Roadhouse Grill in Cranbrook.
A third round will go down on Friday before semi-finals kick off next week.
The last two chefs standing will go head to head at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort. Tickets to the bulk are available with money raised going towards the Salvation Army’s efforts to build a 24/7 shelter in Cranbrook.
Tickets are available at Max’s Place or by calling 250-426-1119.