Scalding soup scandal spills into summer | AspenTimes.com
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Scalding soup scandal spills into summer

Naomi Havlen
Johnny McGuire's cook Bullo, left, and co-owner Johnny Hoffman fend off Mother Lode head chef Randall Baldwin. Aspen Times illustration/Paul Conrad.
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Isn’t it about time Aspen had a truly scandalous soup controversy?The brouhaha over the first Aspen Soup Sköl will come to a boil this Sunday, when the masterminds at the Mother Lode and Johnny McGuire’s square off to find out who truly has the best soup.Soup Sköl was intended to be a simple soup popularity poll during Wintersköl weekend, but it turned into a soup scuffle after the owners of Johnny McGuire’s were left with a bad aftertaste from the outcome.And so, to settle their own soup score, the guys at the sandwich shop filched the best-tasting soup trophy, a large copper pot, from the Mother Lode.

The latter’s yellow curry lemongrass soup with chicken had earned enough votes in the competition to receive the trophy, but the Johnny McGuire’s guys argue that their two first-place awards in presentation and originality trump the Mother Lode’s best-tasting award.”I’m convinced of the fact that we won the whole thing before, and the people have already spoken, as far as I’m concerned,” said Johnny’s co-owner Johnny Hoffman.”I think I have a winning soup, and it’ll be a good soup regardless of whether it wins or loses,” countered Mother Lode chef Randall Baldwin. “Hopefully this will be some closure for those guys at Johnny McGuire’s – if they happen to lose again, I don’t want them to come steal the pot one more time.”Boogie’s will host the first annual “Soup Sköl Faceoff,” in front of Boogie’s Diner from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, just after the Fourth of July parade. Anyone who wants to take part in the soup judging is welcome to a taste of each.The whole concept of Soup Sköl was dreamed up by Boogie’s Diner general manager Reggie Barbour when he was asked by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association to come up with a new, fun activity for Wintersköl weekend in January.

“What easier and low-cost ways for restaurants to get involved than with soups?” Barbour said. “I think [the soup dispute] is wonderful – this is great PR for the event, and it’s a good, funny little thing for the community to get involved in.”Johnny McGuire’s served their award-winning Cheeseburger Soup with a Steak Fry Dunker out of the front of one of their trademark Volkswagen Beetles.”The problem was that we were bombarded with people who loved it, but we ran out and people were still showing up for our soup but we had nothing to offer them,” said Hoffman.Hoffman said they’re planning to serve up the same soup on July Fourth that they served at Wintersköl. Baldwin wouldn’t specify which soup he plans on spooning up on Sunday, saying simply that his soup will be a seasonal one.As for the trophy soup pot, Hoffman said he’s prepared to bring it to Sunday’s competition.

“Sure we’ll bring it over, and we’ll leave with it as well,” he said.”We wanted this to be the Stanley Cup of Soup – a traveling trophy,” Barbour said of the soup pot. “And the funny thing is that the Stanley Cup has been stolen before, so that’s what Johnny’s did.”This time around, the vote between the two soups will be a straight one based on taste alone. Barbour said he’ll have “officials” on hand making sure that there’s no ballot stuffing involved.In January an estimated 2,500 people showed up for Soup Sköl, and 1,926 votes were cast. The Soup Sköl Faceoff promises soup samples for everyone, so show up at Boogie’s after the parade to put an end to the soup skirmish.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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