The Cambrian

Celebrating soup, art, wine — and seals

Chefs dish up soup at the first annual Soupabration in 2011 in Cayucos.
Chefs dish up soup at the first annual Soupabration in 2011 in Cayucos. COURTESY PHOTO

“The art of making art…is putting it together,” warbles Ms. Streisand. And during the Friends of the Elephant Seal fundraiser,

“A Grand Ole Soupabration— Soup, Wine, Authors & Art,” the nine Central Coast chefs competing for the best soups on Sunday, Sept. 9, at Camp Ocean Pines, is where you’ll taste the art of making art — artisan soups, that is.

“From my non-foodie perspective, let me tell you that the competing soups at the Grand Ole Soupabration were definitely not your garden variety Crock Pot soups,” said San Luis Obispo Tribune columnist Judy Salamacha, about last year’s inaugural Soupabration.

Soups! Why feature soups as a fundraiser? Maybe it had something to do with being a Friends of the Elephant Seal docent and spending chilly mornings on the Piedras Blancas bluffs dreaming about a warm cup of soup. Once home, soup’s on, with a sip of local wine to sooth my throat after answering a gazillion questions about elephant seals. Then after lunch I’d grab a good book and occasionally admire lovely works of art by local artists. Voila! The birth of a new fundraiser that represents Central Coast living —soup, wine, authors and art — as were the ingredients for a “soup-a-bration.”

Attendees showed surprise during last September’s inaugural Soupabration, held in Cayucos. “Mr. Spice” from the Central Coast Foodie blog explains, “the soups…were of an entirely different breed: they didn’t just comfort and warm but transported you and tangled with your taste buds.”

Besides Cambria’s Linn’s and Robin’s restaurants, Lido Restaurant in Shell Beach will also return to defend their winning titles from last year. Also jumping into the competition kettle is The Cavalier, Divine Street Catering, Et Voila, Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill, NOVO Restaurant and Windows on the Water.

The soup tasting begins at noon when the doors open. Food Network celebrity chef Rahm Fama, the event’s emcee, will announce the winners as judged by San Francisco’s celebrity chef Paul Piscopo from the W; Bay News editor Neil Farrell; Chef Phillip Riccomini from Paso Robles Culinary Arts Academy; and Top Chef alum and executive chef for the W Westwood, Dakota Weiss. (Chefs Fama and Weiss have also donated their time to each cook a private dinner for six to eight — both silent auction offerings.)

Wine tasting from six local boutique wineries is optional during the event, which ends at 4 p.m.

Beginning at 2 p.m., Crustacea Jazz Band plays old-time jazz. Authors will also chat about their books during separate free sessions in a “Story Teller’s Circle.” The authors are Herman Melville award-winning author David Helvarg; IPPY award winning children’s natural science author/illustrator Marianne D. Wallace; and Central Coast mystery author Sue McGinty.

Meanwhile, painting in plein air style with their works up for silent auction will be artists Sue Johnson, Tish Rogers, Gay Melody Sullivan, Art Van Ryhn and Jeanette Wolff.