MAKE YOUR WHOLE PALATE HAPPY! Balance the texture of simple soups with crunchy croutons, spongy noodles and creamy cheeses.

Colin Moody, CCC
Executive Chef
Asilomar Conference Grounds

Pacific Grove, CA

"For our catered and VIP events, we like to prepare soups as part of a full course meal. We do a bi-color roasted carrot and beet bisque that is quite colorful. We prepare each soup separately, then pour them together into the bowl to create a ying-yang shape; then we drizzle creme fraiche in a zig-zag across both sides.

"We also do a chilled heirloom tomato and avocado sorbet soup. We came up with this one by working with the tomato as a fruit. First we blanch the tomatoes, then peel and stew them with tarragon and basil. We then chill and puree the soup. We make the avocado sorbet with cream, yogurt and a little lemon oil.

"I've been playing with deconstructed soups. I think it's an interesting approach. I've done a Manhattan chowder where I served fried clams on the side of tomato bisque. You can add more balance and texture with a deconstructed soup. With the bisque, the clams added a crispy element that was both delicious and unexpected. It makes the whole palate happy!"

Beverly Stephan
Dining Service Director
Stryker Medical

Kalamazoo, MI

"No matter what time of day it is, soup is popular with our customers! We try to really keep our soups unique and interesting, and, at the same time, recognizable. Most of our soups are spin-offs of the old American diner classics. We have a Philly steak soup with peppers and onions which we top with cheese—sort of like French onion soup. We also have a grilled ham and cheese soup that is served with homemade buttered croutons, a Reuben soup that we serve with rye croutons, and even a BLT soup!

"The problem many of us are facing in this business is finding a way to lower the caloric count of soup, especially cream soups, without compromising the taste. The boiling point on cream is more stable than that of half-and-half or milk. Until we come up with some thing comparable, we promote portion control and balanced meals to our customers."

Gary arthur
Director of operations,
Senior executive Chef
Texas A&M University

College Station, TX

"Because it's been so hot down here, we've been doing a lot of chilled, fruited soups this summer.

"One of my favorites is Pineapple and Onion soup. We do a quick saute on the pineapple and we caramelize the onions. I use apple juice, mint, cumin and green curry paste for spice. We blend it, press it and chill it; then it's served with natural yogurt, fresh lime and mint.

"Instead of croutons, we use caramelized watermelon. Cut a young watermelon into small cubes and put them on a really hot griddle until they're caramelized. They add a cool crunch to the soup."