S oup kitchen? Yes, but not your ordinary soup kitchen. The tasty and creative artisan soups served by chefs from nine local restaurants at the second annual Grand Ole
Soupabration Sunday, Sept. 9, at Camp Ocean Pines was the most compelling component of the fundraiser for Friends of the Elephant Seal.
The event also featured wine tasting (five wineries), authors and artists, celebrity judges evaluating the nine soups and, according to volunteer event coordinator Charmaine Coimbra, more than 200 people paid $40 each to attend the event.
As to the awards, Novo (a San Luis Obispo restaurant with Cambria roots) took the “People’s Choice Award” and the “Judge’s Choice Award” for their Thai red curry soup with rock shrimp and shiitake mushroom.
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Linn’s Restaurant in the East Village of Cambria won the “Best Farm Style Soup” for the pumpkin soup prepared by Chef Matt Beckett. And the Cavalier Restaurant in San Simon took the “Chowder” award for their oyster chowder, presented by Chef Rodolfo Nunez.
The president of the Friends of the Elephant Seal, Brandt Kehoe, said the annual budget for the nonprofit organization, which trains docents to present updated information to the thousands of tourists that visit the elephant seals each month, is about $60,000.
Some of that money pays for the 100,000-plus flyers that the docents hand out to visitors and are placed in motels and hotels in the area; some pays for its San Simeon office.
“We have about 80 active docents,” Kehoe reported, “but we can always use more.” When there are big crowds, up to eight docents are present on the bluff. The blue jackets worn by the docents belong to the organization and each docent pays a $25 deposit to use the jacket.
Friends of the Elephant Seal has two upcoming training sessions. Those who would like to become docents may phone 924- 1628, or go online and fill out an application at www.elephantseal.org.
— John FitzRandolph, special to The Cambrian