BEHIND THE SCENE| Soup’s On sales benefit Culinary School students, community palates

December 2, 2021

The Food Bank of Delaware’s Soup’s On initiative continues to simmer to a win-win for our Culinary School students and for folks in the community who welcome a tasty soup, hearty bread, specialty butter . . . at a reasonable price. We talked to Chef Tish, chef instructor at our Milford site, to learn more about how this project evolved and the recipe for success.

Is Soup’s On something new? Tell us how it came to be.

Chef Tish: Actually, it started last year, and followed the Summer Specials, like the pulled pork. A previous chef was doing the planning and menu. When she left, I took over the planning, the menus. It runs from September to May.

So, by planning, how do you decide what soups to make?

Chef Tish: I go online, use Google, recipe sites, and I read through a lot of different recipes. I try not to do the same soup twice. I look for recipes that are different: The Chicken Gnocchi, Lasagna Soup, Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup. They are all home-made.

The most popular?

Chef Tish: The turkey chili sold out. Beef stew, chicken gnocchi, chicken cordon bleu . . . people loved them.

When making anything in quantity, you’re planning in bulk. Share a couple of “statistics” about the ingredients.

Chef Tish: We use 50 pounds of flour every three weeks, and 3 cases of butter. That’s 36 pounds in a case – 108 pounds of butter every 3 weeks. And it’s growing; it’s not stopping.

How much soup do you make?

Chef Tish: Here in Milford, we have a customer list in the 30s every week. (Newark has a similar customer base) That’s an average of 120 quarts going out each week between the two locations.

How are the Culinary School students involved?

Chef Tish: It’s what we do. The students learn to make soups in stages; it’s good for them to learn. Soups are a staple in most restaurants, and most restaurants make soups from scratch. They learn to taste to see what it needs. We make the soup and butter on Tuesdays, the bread on Wednesday, and Thursday morning we pack them up.

Who are your customers?

Chef Tish: We have a lot of regulars, and a lot of times people order the whole month. When they come in to pick up, I know who they are, and they tell us what they like. If it works, we continue; it’s trial and error. People tell us they freeze the leftovers, and they like the idea of just pulling one out. They tell us they look forward to Thursday, and that it’s here. It’s definitely fresh and reasonably priced.

How do they say they’ve discovered this culinary gem?

Chef Tish: I know the Food Bank has advertised through emails and Facebook, but it definitely has to talk for itself. Some people say they’ve heard about us from a friend.

And in addition to our Culinary Students learning how to make soup, they benefit in another way?

Chef Tish: Proceeds go to Culinary School scholarships, so it helps the students, and really, it’s about them, and that’s what it’s all about.

To order soups from the December menu, click here. Pick-up locations and instructions are posted on the order form.

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