To deal with the growing popularity of the Soup Bowls Project, the Penticton Art Gallery has doubled the duration of the event.
“We’ve had more ticket buyers than we have capacity so this year we’ve decided to break it out into a two-night event,” said gallery curator Paul Crawford.
For the 19th year, the gallery will host many local chef’s pouring their signature soups from scratch into handmade bowls, crafted by members of Penticton and Summerland Potters Guild.
“The bowls are all laid out on a table and you get to line up and choose the one that suits you the best,” he said, adding that there are enough bowls to see that even the last person to pick will end up with one they love.
“There are all different kinds of bowls. Some potters will really embellish them with drawings and all sorts of other graphics, some of them just make them really funky and cool, others put really cool glazes on them, it’s just a full range of every type of bowl you can imagine, from the practical to the totally impractical,” he said. “Really, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
There were 12 restaurants that participated in last year’s event, and Crawford is hoping to increase that number to 20, with 10 restaurants taking part each night, as well as a reduced capacity.
“We had 200 people in one night which was just too packed last year, so we’re reducing the capacity of each night to 150 this year,” he said. “Having less people each night gives everybody a chance to sit down, socialize and have a good time.”
After sampling all the available soups, guests are asked to vote on their favourite to determine the winner of the People’s Choice soup.
“There are always great debates among soup patrons – traditionally it goes to the soups that are rich and heavy in butter rather than the subtly flavoured clear broth soups,” Crawford said. “The heavier soups seem to win this time of year but you never know what people are going to vote for.”
All participating restaurants will provide a recipe of their soup from the event for a recipe book which patrons will be taking home.
“If you can’t make both nights at least you can get the recipes from both nights,” Crawford said.
Serving beverages will be Hillside Winery, Therapy Vineyards and Cannery Brewing Co., and making music both nights will be the Darylectones.
“They’re fantastic, they play just the right ambient sense of music in the background.”
Tickets for the soup bowl project cost $40 for gallery members and $45 for non-members. The event happens on Nov. 14 and 15, though the first night is already sold out. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and soup will be served from 7 until 9.
“It’s not a huge ticket item for what you get to leave with – you get your bowl, a recipe book, samples, 10 different soups from 10 different restaurants and a vote for your favourite one,” Crawford said. “It’s a really interactive and social event during a time of year when things are starting to get a bit gloomy.”