By Dave Johnson, Tribune Staff - Friday, April 7, 2017
It was the perfect day for a hot, steaming bowl of soup — and Port Cares’ eighth annual SoupFest delivered with seven flavourful servings.
On the menu at the Italian Hall were red onion and cauliflower cheese soups from Port Colborne High School’s culinary arts program; beef taco tortilla and winter leek and potato soups from Port Cares Reach Out Food Centre; cream of chicken and asparagus from Niagara College Canadian Food and Wine Institute; and beef barley vegetable soup from Lakeshore Catholic High School’s hospitality and tourism program.
Lakeshore, Port High and Niagara College have taken part in the event since its beginning in 2009 at St. Patrick’s Church Hall on Victoria Street.
Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney said the best part of the annual fundraiser for Port Cares, is that the recipes for the various soups are included in a pamphlet handed out at the event.
“I go home and try and make the soups myself,” said the mayor, adding, when asked, he is successful in replicating the tasty soups.
With the rain falling outside the Italian Hall Thursday, Maloney said it was a great day to be served soup.
“I just want to come in and snuggle up with a big bowl of soup,” he said.
Lakeshore chef Joe Fabiano said his students look forward to SoupFest every year.
“We look at what soup we want to do,” he said, adding the culinary and baking students make the choice.
“They had to make the stock, cut all the vegetables, get the beef cooked … a lot of work goes into making a soup,” Fabiano said.
Professor David Gibson said the college’s soup chosen this year had an extra touch to it.
“We added a safron fleur de sel.”
Taking part in SoupFest, he said, allows the college students to get a feel for food costs and it’s a way for them and the college to give back to the community, and help out the food bank.
Port Cares executive director Christine Clark LaFleur thanked the schools and Reach Out Centre, and all of the supporters for making SoupFest possible each year.
“All of your assistance today, I can’t thank you enough on behalf of our team and the families we serve. We rely on fundraisers and charitable support to provide the services at the Reach Out Centre and beyond,” she said. “Thanks for coming out,”
Clark LaFleur said the Reach Out Centre serves 12,000 meals in the community each year, provides 1,500 lunches a month for children and assists 1,200 people through the food bank.