The year was 1995, and quite possibly the quintessential culinary phrase of the ‘90s, came from actor Larry Thomas, who played the infamous Soup Nazi on “Seinfeld.”
“No soup for you!” If you saw the episode, you have probably uttered this phrase at least a few dozen times since. Heck, even Jerry Seinfeld and Larry Thomas, dawned the character roles in a recent Acura commercial, during the Super Bowl this year. Luckily, the soup is on, at the 15th Annual VNA Art and Soup event on February 26.
The Art and Soup, Omaha’s tastiest event, will return to the Embassy Suites La Vista Hotel and Conference Center. The event features art from 58 area artists, an incredible silent auction and a vast array of soup from 20 restaurants. Attendees will sample different soups and vote for their favorite, in addition to viewing and purchasing original art from area artists. Artwork included paintings, sculptures, and jewelry with even some artist demonstrations throughout the afternoon. I promise you this is the perfect time of the year to try innovative and classic soups at their best.
Battle of the Soups is the professionally judged category and last year Taste restaurant earned top honors for their soup. A bit disappointing that the champions are not returning to defend their “stock pot” crown, I hope there is no crazy soup drama in the Omaha culinary world; however, there are a few restaurants you should place on your soup radar.
One of my personal favorites has to be Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops and each year they do an outstanding job. The sweet potato bisque from last year was a brilliant combination of Japanese and American sweet potatoes. Culinary wizard and soup genius, chef Glenn Wheeler is sure to have something spectacular for the crowd.
Vivace’s also did an amazing job last year with their butternut squash bisque and as a personal touch, had recipe cards for all the guests to make a version of the soup at home. For tasty soup and a great vendor display, the Noodle Zoo will return this year off an impressive and well-balanced soup of mushroom spinach and asiago.
As a restaurateur and chef, I have participated in literally hundreds of charity events. As a guest you are not only participating in this event for a good cause, but you are also interviewing potentially new restaurants that you will visit. Keep an eye and ear open to the vendors and take note of their hospitality to other guests. Many restaurants do not truly understand the importance of, or the opportunity that charity events present. Are they being hospitable and having a positive energy towards you? Are they making you a fan of their establishment through the culture, food, and staff? What makes them stand out in a crowd of 20 restaurants? Ask questions, and engage the artists and restaurants during your soup travels.
To me, soup is the vehicle in which great chefs deliver their passion, love and skill to their guests. You can tell a lot about a chef, through their soup, and the soup is on, at the 15th Annual VNA Art and Soup event.
The 15th Annual Art and Soup is February 26, at the Embassy Suites LaVista from 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $50 in advance and for more information or to purchase tickets call 402.930.4170 or visit theVNAcares.org
Winner’s from the 14th Annual Art and Soup (2011)
Best Restaurant Decorations (people’s choice)
• 1st place – Bread Oven
Best Soup (people’s choice)
• 1st place – Noodle Zoo (Mushroom Spinach Asiago)
Battle of the Soups (professionally judged)
• 3rd place – 7M Grill (7M Caribbean Chicken & Rice)
• 2nd place – Vivace (Butternut Squash Potage)
• 1st place – Taste (Cream of Maitake & Tart Cherry)
2012 Participating Restaurants
Attitude on Food
Bob Monkey’s Noodle Zoo
Bread Oven French Bakery
Carol Joy Holling Conference & Retreat Center
DoubleTree by Hilton
Field Club of Omaha
Old Mattress Factory Omaha Prime/Passport Restaurants
Prairie Fire Pizza
Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops
The La Vista Nines – Embassy Suites La Vista