Soupabration cooks up specialties to bowl you over Sunday

ktanner@thetribunenews.comOctober 16, 2013 

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect day for Soupabration; it'll be held Sunday, Oct. 20.

Central Coast fundraisers and fiestas celebrate all kinds of food, from oysters and avocados to olive oil, clams, chili, pumpkins, chocolate, every kind of wine and more. So, why not soup? As Julia Child said, “An excellent lunch or light supper need be no more than a good soup, a salad, cheese and bread.”

In fact, Cambria’s soup competition is well on its way to being a classic. The third annual Grand Ole Soupabration will be from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, this year at Camp Ocean Pines, 1473 Randall Drive. It’s all to benefit Pacific Wildlife Care, a nonprofit that treats and rehabilitates injured wildlife.

Tickets — $50 for soup tasting and food sampling or $60 to add wine tasting and a souvenir glass — are on sale at A Matter of Taste in Cambria, Forden’s in San Luis Obispo, at the door and online at For details, call 927-3357 or email

What’s more luxurious than an ultra creamy bisque or chowder, more bracing than a big bowl of vegetable or vegan goodness, or more reflective of the calendar than a soup filled with ingredients of the season?

But if making a good soup can be simple, making a great one is a culinary art.

At press deadline, among this year’s exotic Soupabration concoctions included three unique chowders, a gumbo, corn-tomato soup, crab bisque, vegan posole and a curried specialty. Other varieties were top secret.

Selecting Soupabration winners will be a tough but enjoyable job for two returning celebrity chefs from Los Angeles — Dakota Weiss and Rahm Fama — and local media personalities Bert Etling, editor of The Cambrian, food columnist Consuelo Macedo and Dave Congalton, KVEC radio host.

Soupabration attendees can sample each soup and vote in the People’s Favorite balloting.

Competitors include Steve Smeets, Apple Farm Restaurant; Bay View Restaurant at the Inn at Morro Bay; Richard Lawson, Camp Ocean Pines; Dena Walston, Indigo Moon Café; Miguel de Alba, owner of Manta Rey in San Simeon; the Paso Robles Culinary Institute; and Shine Café in Morro Bay.

Also, past Soupabration contestants returning for another round are Rudy Nunez, Cavalier Restaurant; Gary Baker, Divine Street Catering, Cayucos; Matt Beckett, Linn’s; John McKinnon, Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill; and Robin’s Restaurant.

Brian’s Bread of Atascadero will provide artisan breads to sample between tastings. We Olive will stage olive oil samplings, Bassetti Vineyards will bring samplings of its focaccias and tapenades, Red Moose Cookies will offer sample cookies, Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates will bring tasting samples, and Chef Weiss will bring her line of gourmet popcorn to sample.

The seven wineries of the Pacific Coast Wine Trail group will pour tastings, as will Bassetti Vineyards and Sculpterra Winery. Lone Madrone Winery will offer samples of its hard cider.

Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay actively participates in the afternoon event, bringing its wildlife ambassadors. The nonprofit also will showcase its “wine wheel” (think roulette), host a silent auction that will feature an exclusive, private chef-and-winemaker’s dinner (Chef Dakota Weiss) at Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden in April; and a “pot luck” raffle where attendees buy tickets and toss them in to dry soup pots that hold the prizes they want to win.

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