Want to try the food at a bunch of restaurants in Tampa Bay but don't want to visit them all? It’s always great to visit a local taste event and sample dishes from many of the restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. You'll get to taste samples of signatures dishes, tantalizing desserts, delicious and diverse offerings from the top participating restaurants.
The Ybor City Culinaria Experience from May 18-27 takes this opportunity a step further and offers you the chance to actually meet the Chefs at various Ybor restaurants and even participate in a cooking seminar with them! The goal of the 10 day event is to emphasize the history of Ybor City, the many dining opportunities there, and increase foot traffic into and around the district.
Join Chef Ben at the Stone Soup Company on Friday, May 25th at 4:00pm to learn how to make his special tomato basil soup, basa fish and tomato sauce!
According to Chef Ben: “We started down the street a little over 2 years ago in a small hole in the wall. We started making soup without any indoor seating and realized very quickly that we would have to expand. Customers started to give us feedback, for example, that air conditioning would go really well with soup. We moved to this spot a year and a half ago and have been here ever since.
I don’t really have a culinary background, so I feel uncomfortable when people call me a chef. I see myself as more of a culinary engineer. I take recipes and make them better. Many of our specialties are just take-offs of what has worked for other people in the past.
We focus on fresh and healthy and have air ovens that we use to cook a lot of our food. Obviously we focus on soups; we are a soup company but we could almost be called a sauce company since we use several of our soup recipes as sauces as well. We grill and have plenty of salads; we are pretty diverse, focus on different international foods, and highlight different foods on different days. We make most of our own desserts and have a beer selection focusing on Cigar City –we try to support local businesses.
When we started the restaurant, the economy was bad and there were many homeless here in Ybor. We decided to give whatever we couldn’t serve -- to give it away for free – and take that as a mission. Every week we work with the Tampa Bay Harvest and they pick up whatever soup or fresh food we have left over. To date we’ve generated more than 13K soup meals – this cause is something I am very passionate about.
It all hit home for me a few months ago when I went in to my daughters’ school to talk about what I do and handed out chicken soup samples. The kids had a great time and wrote me such wonderful letters. The same week, this cute couple in their 80s from England came in every day at the same time. I finally asked them why they were here every day considering there are so many great restaurants around Ybor. They said that the food I serve is really healthy and fresh and that they really just loved it here. That’s when it hit me that what we do spans an entire age group and I realized we are going to be here for awhile.”
Visit The Stone Soup Company at 1517 East 7th Avenue, (813)-247-SOUP, www.xsoup4u.com.
Reserve Soon! Seating is limited to 20 at this event.