Florio Vassilakakis (left) and James Varghese (right) from The Nineteenth took home the People’s Choice award at the Kootenay Gallery of Art’s Soup for the Cultured Soul fundraiser Saturday night.

Florio Vassilakakis (left) and James Varghese (right) from The Nineteenth took home the People’s Choice award at the Kootenay Gallery of Art’s Soup for the Cultured Soul fundraiser Saturday night.

Kootenay Gallery of Art fundraiser satisfies the cultured soul

The Nineteenth took home the People's Choice award at Soup for the Cultured Soul Saturday night.




The winner of the 2017 People’s Choice Soup at the Kootenay Gallery of Art’s Soup for the Cultured Soul fundraiser was a last-minute addition.

When Florio Vassilakakis, who is a member of the event’s organizing committee, heard that the Greek Oven had to pull out due to a family emergency the day before the event, he made a decision to fill in the gap with a soup from his new restaurant venture — The Nineteenth (located at the Castlegar Golf Club). His chef, James Varghese, whipped up the prize-winning coconut curry squash creation the morning of the fundraiser.

Once again the event sold out and populated a sizeable waiting list long before the day of the fundraiser. The event has become popular not just for the amazing soups presented by local restaurants, but also for the beautiful pottery bowls that each guest gets to select and take home with them. About 150 bowls created by 14 local potters filled a long table with colour and style.

Gallery executive director Val Field was pleased with the turnout.

“It was a bunch of new faces, which is kind of the point of the whole thing — to bring new people to the gallery.” She explained that the event is a good tool for getting people out to the gallery for the first time and that once they make that first visit, they often come back.

The Grand Buddha Bistro served a vegan tom yum, the Black Rooster a sausage and chicken gumbo, the Lion’s Head a pozole rojo, Kim’s Creations an apple parsnip and The Element a smoked mussel bisque.

“We need to really thank the restaurants,” said Field. “They do all that work as a donation. It is just wonderful.”

The event is one of the biggest fundraisers for the gallery each year. Funds raised come from the ticket sales, gift shop sales and corporate sponsors. This year’s sponsors included Zellstoff Celgar, Fireside Inn, Hester Creek Winery and Safeway.

Field also emphasized that the event would not be possible without the numerous volunteers who work so hard.

“Obviously, we’ll do it again next year,” concluded Field.

Peoples Choice Award winner

The Nineteenth’s Coconut Curry Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS :

Coconut oil 200 ml

Onion chopped 250 g

Ginger chopped 100 g

Garlic Chopped 100 g

Red Thai curry paste 50 g

Yellow split peas 250 g

Butternut squash 2.5 kg

Coconut milk 1 L

Butter 100 g

Apple 500 g

Cumin 30 g

Water 2 L

Dedicated coconut 100 g

Cilantro for garnish

Salt to taste

METHOD:

Boil split peas until soft and set aside. Peel butternut squash and apple. Cut in cubes and roast for 30 min. at 350 degrees f with olive oil,salt and pepper.

Saute onion, garlic and ginger in coconut oil until golden brown. Add cumin and curry paste, continue saute for one minute.

Add coconut milk and water then simmer for 10min. Add boiled peas, roasted squash and apple. Add butter salt to taste.

Purée with a hand blender. Garnish with fresh Cilantro and toasted coconut and toasted pumpkin seeds.