Chef Darren Simpson was concerned about the amount of food being thrown away at the Aquatico Bay Restaurant and Sandbar Pub.
So he cooked up a plan to put the leftovers to better use, cleared his idea with owner Wendy Davies, who came on-board immediately, and got the necessary clearance from Interior Health.
Then he began making hearty, nutritious soups and freezing them in one-litre containers to be given away free to those in need every Monday morning.
“The idea came from a guy I know in Kelowna, who did something similar,” Simpson says, noting extra garden produce was used to make soup for the Kelowna Gospel Mission. “And I’ve been partners with someone who won the Stone Soup contest.”
The fundraising contest involves Central Okanagan chefs who compete to see who can make the best soup using only the ingredients in the Gospel Mission’s pantry.
“When I was looking at all our leftovers – we do a lot of Christmas parties – I thought why not make a soup,” Simpson says, noting he now has five different kinds in the freezer.
In the weeks ahead, Simpson will be posting the types of soup that will be available on the Aquatico Bay/Sand Bar Pub Facebook Page. Those who are in need may go to Aquatico Bay Monday mornings between 9 and 11 to pick it up.
“I was part of a major charity event just about once a week in Kelowna and I want to get something organized in Salmon Arm and get people onboard,” Simpson says.
Plans are to continue the soup program every week, except perhaps in the summer months when the restaurant and pub are extremely busy.
Simpson, who has been in Salmon Arm for about one year, says it bothers him that statistics indicate some 40 per cent of food in North America ends up in landfills.
“I am a big supporter of France’s new law,” he says of recent legislation that forbids restaurants to send leftovers to the landfill. “They have to give the food away; it’s not going into landfills, it’s going into people’s bellies.”