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Last month, I helped my friend Lisa Kates (also known as A Food Gypsy) prepare for Soupalicious which was held at Wychwood Barns on September 30. Please see my blogpost: https://petervisima.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/soupalicious-the-show/ to see the whole story.

Lisa’s next soup event was to be Soupstock. This is an event sponsored by the Dr. David Suzuki Foundation to bring about awareness regarding the proposed mega-quarry in Melancthon Township. Some of the best farmland in Ontario is being purchased by the Highland Companies to strip the land of its soil and dig a massive pit to remove tons of limestone. This has huge environmental consequences and we have to ask ourselves, do we want roads and buildings, or food?

For more information about the mega-quarry, please visit these websites:




The scale of attendees at Soupstock was estimated to be about 40,000 people. This would be far greater than the attendance at Soupalicious. This meant that Lisa had to call upon many of her friends to help peel, chop and caramelize onions, and make much more soup than she did for Soupalicious. Of course I volunteered to help Lisa, and my first task was to pick up provisions for her at the Evergreen Brickworks. On a dreary rainy morning, I along with many other chefs and restaurants, drove to the Brickworks to pick up donations made by many farmers for this event.

My list of goodies included 100 pounds of onions, salt, olive oil, garlic, and food-safe pails. Members of the media were there and you can see me for a split second in this video: http://vimeo.com/51735358#

You can see Chef Michael Stadtländer (with the hat) in this photo:

More photos from pickup day:

And here are the provisions stuffed into my trunk:

Now that we had our provisions, Lisa had to enlist the help of several friends to transform these goods into soup. Lisa’s friend, Len Senator of The Depanneur, http://www.thedepanneur.ca/ provided Lisa with his kitchen facilities for the preparation of the soup. Lisa, Donna, Tiffany, Gail and Marla and I all converged at The Depanneur with knives and aprons in hand. In no time we were all flooded with tears due to the very strong onions.


Donna and Tiffany


Lisa, Gail and Marla


Marla and Lisa

Lisa and Gail

Lisa, Tiffany, Marla, Gail and Donna. Too many cooks in the kitchen?

As a professional chef, Tiffany’s knife skills and culinary talents were so helpful in the kitchen

One of the many batches of caramelized onions that took us to today’s Soupstock

With all of the prep done, including making stock and assembling the final soup product, we are now at the big event—Soupstock.

It’s lucky for my wife, Nancy, and I that we live very close to the Coxwell bus line that took us to Soupstock in less than 15 minutes from our house. We arrived there early and the purchase of tickets took only a few minutes owing to a very small line-up:

There was no lack of information as to the reason for this significant event:

Rock Lobster was offering up Lobster Cappuccino which we did not try, but judging from the line-ups, it was probably pretty amazing:

Check out this outrageous lobster and these other images:

Here is Michael Stadtländer’s ginormous pumpkin with soup pot:

The main pavilion at Woodbine Park:

I had a brief “photography” exchange with this gentleman. He made a comment about my camera (Nikon) and I couldn’t help myself by sending a barb or two about his Canon camera. It was all in good fun and he was a terrific guy:

Nancy and I bought 9 tasting tickets and we shared each one of them. This was our first tasting of the day. We went for the second choice on the menu and it was delish:

Next up was Georgian College’s roasted parsnip pear purée:

Very tasty!

A great bunch of graduates/students

We didn’t sample Men With Knives but they had a great presentation:

There were numerous food trucks at Soupstock including Caplansky’s:

And finally, the main event, we found Lisa Kates—A Food Gypsy—and her amazing caramelized beer onion soup. And yes, it was fantastic due to all the hard work that went into making it:

Donna, Lisa, Joanna and Nancy

Lisa (A Food Gypsy) and Joanna (Bumpercrop)

Donna, Lisa and Joanne

Donna and Lisa

My friend Rachel Silva was representing Crème Fraîche which has a great shop at 639 Annette Street. You have to check them out: http://cremefraichemarket.com/ and their use of Monforte Dairy cheese products http://www.monfortedairy.com/ with their soup:

Next up was my friend Kristin Donovan from Hooked http://www.hookedinc.ca/HOOKEDinc/Home.html . Hooked is without a doubt the best fishmonger in Toronto. Kristin and her husband, Dan, are passionate about what they sell and they believe in selling only sustainable fish. Located at 888 Queen Street East and their just recently opened location in Kensington Market at 206 Baldwin Street, you have to visit them. Kristin was offering a superb Asian carp soup. My bad for not getting a photograph of this amazing soup. But here is Kristin preparing the dish:

Next up was a noodle soup from Fraser Café that was particularly good:

Le Sélect Bistro’s duck consommé was to die for:

Hall’s kitchen was serving a Bangkok curry, coconut and lime soup:

Here is Chef Susur Lee serving up his hot and sour soup:

And now we get to one of the most awesome soups of the day. Not to be outdone by his phenomenal presentation at Soupalicious, RaviSoups http://www.ravisoup.com/ made a corn chowder soup that was incredible. I met Ravi when we picked up our ingredients at Evergreen Brickworks and made a point of complimenting him on his soup from Soupalicious. As at Soupalicious, his soup was truly fantastic. Well done, Ravi:

We used our last tasting ticket for L’Est Catering and their potato and leek soup. The interesting thing about their presentation was the ability to add whatever toppings you wished to their soup. It made for a full and satisfying end to our soup tastings for the day:

Chef Ted Reader was also at this event:

Here is Emily wearing a soupbowl on her head to help raise funds for this worthy cause:

Kudos to the event organizers for providing wash/rinsing stations for your soupbowls:

And if you forgot to bring a bowl and/or spoon Nella was there to provide you with  them:

As we were making our way out of the park after two hours, this gives you an idea of how busy things were becoming:

There was no shortage of entertainment for the day and we left before Jesse Cook took the stage, but there were numerous other performers:

And thanks to my sharp-eyed wife, Nancy, she spotted some celebrities. And oddly enough both Leah Pinsent and Peter Keleghan were also at the Toronto Garlic Festival. I didn’t capture a great image of Leah (in the yellow coat), but Peter is in these images:

Leah Pinsent

Peter Keleghan

We had an absolutely fabulous day. The weather was perfect and the soups were incredible. My thanks go out to my friend Lisa Kates because I would have never been made aware of this event. Thank you, Lisa, Aaron, Tiffany, Donna, Gail, Marla and Nancy for helping make this such a successful event.

My apologies for the length of this blog; I hope you were able to make it to the end and enjoy all of my images.