In some ways, Monday’s semifinal matchup of the Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge wasn’t fair.
After all, Kathy Morey had home field advantage as she made her soup in her own kitchen at the Salvation Army.
Morey received a bye from the first round, and managed to put herself into the final event, as her beef barley was voted as the top soup over a ginger chicken creation from Chef Rusty Cox of the Heidout Restaurant and Brewhouse.
Though Cox has 18 years experience in top restaurants and resorts around the world, it was Morey and her past decade of experience at the Salvation Army soup kitchen that gave her the edge.
And she definitely wasn’t fazed by having another chef in her territory.
“It’s so much fun meeting another chef from the Heidout and the Prestige and the St. Eugene—it’s awesome,” Morey said. “It’s actually nice to have a chef in my kitchen.”
After observing the first three preliminary challenges, Morey had an idea of what she wanted to work with once she got into the pantry to start making her soup.
“I had a couple ideas but then watching the other cooks and seeing what they were using, I was thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll try this’,” said Morey.
“And they didn’t actually take it out of the freezer, and it was still here Monday morning.”
After familiarizing himself with the kitchen facilities in the preliminary round last week, Cox had a better idea of what he had to work with when he stepped up for the semifinal against Morey.
“I had a better idea of what was in the kitchen,” said Cox, who was gunning for ingredients that were fresh and light.
Two items immediately jumped out at him.
“Ginger and chicken and then everything else I had to bring it up,” said Cox.
As with each challenge, both chefs are allowed one secret item from their home kitchens. As with his first competition, Cox brought back his Homer Simpson stuffy, while Morey rocked a Newfoundland and Labrador flag on her sleeve.
It was a relaxed atmosphere as the two went head-to-head to create their culinary masterpieces.
“It’s fun,” said Cox. “The food that is here, that people donate, is just amazing. It’s great that people have that much of an open heart and the quality that they give is really nice.”
Both semi-final events are sponsored by College of the Rockies Professional Cook Training. The other semi-final event will be held this Friday and features Chef Doug Wagner of St. Eugene Mission Resort and Chef Shelby Schiller, BJ’s Diner and Creekside Pub, Kimberley.
Morey will compete against Friday’s winner at the grand finale event on March 4, noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort and Convention Centre, which is not only sponsoring the final event, but providing the Grand Ballroom, staff, and food. This ensures all funds raised at the event go directly towards the Salvation Army homeless shelter project and Cranbrook and District Community Foundation general endowment fund, which provides annual grants to local non-profits.
Tickets to the public event are available in two prices: $25 for lunch; or, $45 for lunch and a $20 charitable receipt. They can be purchased with cash at Max’s Place or by calling 250-426-1119.