BRANTFORD – The winner of this year’s Corn Soup Cook-Off said “a good chef never reveals his secret,” at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford last Saturday when asked how he infused the perfect amount of smokiness into his award-winning soup.
Winner, Phillip Johnson said, “I’ve been making the soup for several years now and a lot of people tell me it’s one of the best corn soups they’ve ever tasted, but like I said — a good chef never tells his secrets.”
Johnson took home first prize, making his traditional corn soup a two-time winner of the event. Bev Bomberry won second place and Lester Green was awarded third.
“The men really cleaned up,” said one of the centre’s staff members.
The cook-off, held at the cultural centre in partnership with Hamilton’s De dwa da dehs nye s Aboriginal Health Centre, boasted 10 soups cooked by 10 different chefs. Some soups were saltier than others, some soups carried a darker shade of red than the one before it and some were filled with pulled pork opposed to the more recognizable cubed pork — but it’s safe to say that no guests left hungry as they made their way around the room sampling each entry.
The public was in charge of picking this year’s winners.
“It cost $5 to get in and everyone gets to pick a mug and taste all of the soups,” said Jessica Powless, outreach co-ordinator at Woodland Cultural Centre. “It might take a few samples of each to narrow down the choices, but once you know your favourites, vote for your top three choices.”
It was almost impossible to sway votes by voting for your friend or family member’s soup because even the contestants themselves didn’t know which number was attached to their soup.
“I’m positive I know what soup is mine,” said Edna Hill, one of the contestants. “At first I wasn’t so sure because a few of them tasted similar to mine — but after I tried them all a few more times I figured it out for sure.”
Hill said that it was a lot of fun, yet stressful, not knowing exactly who’s soup belonged to who.
“I guess it’s possible all us contestants could end up voting for someone else’s soup,” Hill said with a smile.
The public could purchase a scone for $2 to pair with the soup, and by paying the $5 entry fee, guests were entered into door prizes that were drawn halfway through the night.
“I told Phillip when we started dating years ago that he makes the best corn soup I’ve ever had,” said Johnson’s girlfriend. “I really pushed him to enter the contest and, hey — it paid off.”