Stone soup finalists set

Chef Rusty Cox wins second semifinal over Chef Carmen Alaric on Friday at the Salvation Army; will face Chef Graham Barnes in final.

Chef Rusty Cox and Chef Carmen Alaric served up their soupy creations in the second semifinal last Friday at the Salvation Army soup kitchen.

Chef Rusty Cox and Chef Carmen Alaric served up their soupy creations in the second semifinal last Friday at the Salvation Army soup kitchen.

The finalists for the Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge have been set.

Chef Rusty Cox of The Heidout Restaurant and Brewhouse will meet Chef Graham Barnes of Max’s Place in the title matchup of the event.

Cox earned his berth in the finals after winning a close 28-25 vote against Carmen Alaric, the resident chef of the Salvation Army in the semifinals on Friday.

Chef Cox won the vote with his creation of a beef and pork with butternut squash, with Chef Alaric challenged with a cream of broccoli and cheddar soup.

Nearly every chef in the competition knew that it’s difficult to come in with a plan, as the Salvation Army fridges and pantries may not have the correct ingredients for a soup planned in advance.

For Chef Cox, it was a matter of keeping in mind the clientele needs.

“First and foremost, I thought about the guests that were going to be here,” Cox said. “Still considered winter right now, they need something healthy that will warm them up and keep their stomaches full, so that’s what I started off of.”

Now, Chef Cox will be going up against Chef Barnes; the two ended up facing each other in the first round of last year’s event.

“It was different last year; last year I got knocked out second round and Graham and I went head to head first round, so know it’s kind of our retribution on both of our parts to make it this year,” Cox said.

“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great cause.”

Chef Cox said he is looking forward to a laid-back final on Wednesday, as the two finalists know each other pretty well.

“It’ll be like two guys sitting at home drinking a beer,” he said. “We worked together back in ’99-2001 so we have a lot of history between us.”

The two have a budget of $125 to gather all their ingredients to make any soup their heart desires for the final event, which will go down on Wednesday, March 2, at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort from noon – 1:30 p.m.

Soups will be judged by previously eliminated chefs—six of them over the last two weeks—as well as a couple guest and celebrity judges.

Tickets to the event are available at Max’s Place, by calling the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation at 250-426-1119 or online through Snapd East Kootenay.

The Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge is a joint fundraiser for the Salvation Army’s proposed 24/7 homeless shelter and the CDCF’s general endowment fund.