Salvation Army Chef Carmen Alaric for the win!

IMG_4748Mint-pudding curried turkey-vegetable soup and chocolate chip cookie dough hamburger soup delight Salvation Army guests

Chef Kevin McDonald of the West Coast Grill and the Salvation Army’s own Carmen Alaric faced-off today, each bringing a very unique and difficult ingredient as a challenge to the other.

Chef McDonald presented chocolate chip cookie dough to Chef Alaric to use in her daily soup. A challenge, yes, but perhaps not quite as difficult as the one Alaric returned to him: a very strong mint- flavoured homemade Oreo cookie pudding.

But despite the unique culinary twist, both chefs boldly accepted the challenge, received the five bonus stones, and immediately moved forward with a genius plan.

Chef McDonald, who came to today’s competition after flipping hundreds of pancakes at his daughter’s elementary school, opted for a curry-roasted turkey and vegetable soup while Alaric committed to a hamburger soup. Alaric wore a good luck charm for inspiration today – a T-shirt for Jaxson Campbell, an 11-month old boy from Cranbrook who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for a rare cancer called ATRT.

Both soups seemed to be crowd favourites, and whispers of the “best soups yet” rumbled throughout lunch. However, Salvation Army guests leaned slightly towards their home-cook’s creation.

By a vote of 32 to 25, Alaric pulled off the win.

On Monday, Chef Rusty Cox of The Heid Out Restaurant and Brewhouse will go against last year’s winner Chef Shelby Schiller of BJ’s Diner and Creekside Pub, Kimberley. Their challenge will conclude the first round of competition.

Semi-final match-ups, sponsored by Columbia Basin Trust, will begin Tuesday, February 23, with Chef Graham Barnes of Max’s Place taking on Chef Lindsay Waugh of Hot Shots Café.

By next Friday, only two chefs will remain undefeated. They will face-off at an exciting luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, March 2, noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort. The final event is sponsored by Investors Group. Tickets to the public grand finale soup-off are available in two prices: $25 for lunch; or, $45 for lunch and a $20 charitable receipt. They can be purchased with cash at Max’s Place, through the CDCF office by calling 250.426.1119 or online through Snapd East Kootenay.