February 5, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Notes from the Field

French Cooking Class en Francais? Mais oui, mon amour! Also, Souper Bowl Winners, Food Co-op Coming & more...

By Lynn Cline

Gourmet Girl

Lynn Cline is a former food editor and the author of two books – Romantic Days and Nights in Santa Fe and Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1915-1950. She also loves to cook, when not dining out.

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And the Best Soup is...

Santa Feans tasted some mighty fine soups last Saturday, and for the first time in a number of years, a new Souper Bowl champion emerged... Andrew Cooper, executive chef of Terra at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. Cooper's Winter Squash & Chorizo Soup took home not just the Best Savory Soup Award but the Best Soup Award as well in Santa Fe Souper Bowl XX.

More than 1,400 people attended this year's Souper Bowl, choosing which of the 28 soups would take top honors in the categories. Other winners were: El Milagro's Spicy Potato & Bacon Cream Soup, created by Anthony Armijo, for Best Cream Soup Nath's Specialty Catering for it's Tom Yum Soup with shrimp, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and jalapeños for Best Seafood Soup; and the retirement community, Kingston Residence of Santa Fe's chilled Roasted Poblano Pepper Piñon and Juniper Berry Soup for Best Vegerian Soup.

The crowd also enjoyed Café Bon Appetite at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design's deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie Chowder, Cafe Pasqual's Very Green Fish Stew, with haddock in a bright green broth featuring cilantro, basil and mint; and Agave Lounge's Chipotle Cheddar Potato soup with chimichurri drizzle.

Jambo Cafe's owner decided to sit this year's Souperbowl out, since he's won the coveted Best Soup award four years running, and give someone another chef a shot at the award.

The event raises funds for The Food Depot, northern New Mexico's food bank.

Charles Dale's French Cooking Class

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Looking for a great a way to celebrate with your favorite foodie? Sign up for a Classic French Cooking Class En Francais with Charles Dale of Bouche Bistro, held Saturday February 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Los Cosas Cooking School.

Dale, a French native, will lead the class in French to immerse students in an authentic experience of cooking in a Parisian kitchen. The three-hour class will focus on a menu inspired by Bouche, Dale's classic French bistro, that will include an amuse as well as French onion soup “Les Halles,” Black Mussels in White Wine & Red Chile, Frites, caramelized Brussel sprouts and profiteroles chocolat! Bon Appetit! Click here for more details.

Epazote's New Hillside Home

Chef Fernando Olea has long been a fixture in Santa Fe's culinary scene, with his popular Bert's and Epazote, both long gone. But foodies will be thrilled to hear that he's opening Epazote at Hillside Market, on Valentine's Day, and will offer lunch daily from 11:30 am to 2 pm. The menu features inspired world cuisine.

Inspired by Aztecs, Olea creatively transforms the traditional ingredients of Mexico into delectable New World dishes, including his variations of Mexican mole featured in his specials. The menu also features crabmeat soup in a poblano cream bisque, topped with Amaretto foam and flecks of chocolate.

Whether dining in the restaurant or hosting a private party with a special menu, your dining experience at Epazote is guaranteed to be a memorable one.

For more info, click here.

Pranzo's New Owner

Chef Steven Lemon helped open Pranzo 25 years ago, and last year, he returned to take over the kitchen, after a stint as owner of the O Eating House in Poajoque. Now, he's just taken over the restaurant, as longtime owner Michael O'Reilly has sold it to him.

Lemon's original Italian/Mediterranean cuisine includes some of the restaurant's longtime favorites like the Spaghetti con Gamborini, Pizza Margherita and the famous Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Sage Cream. There are also signature specialties, including Crispy Duck Legs with Sweet Corn and Sutcliffe Musto and Strozza Pretti with Beef Cheeks, Basil and Grana Padano. The Geist Cabaret continues to entertain diners on weekend evenings with the piano and songs played by David Geist.

For more info, click here.

Santa Fe Community Co-op

A new Santa Fe co-op grocery store is in the works, offering mostly organic, local, non-GMO food that's affordable, and it's member-owned and focused on community. The Santa Fe Community Co-op is hoping to open next year in a new building on Siler Road, fueled by members, and you're invited to be one, too.

This co-op models itself after the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, the most successful of its kind in the country. With 16,000 members and $49 in sales, it's one of the country's top five independent grocery stores, and stocks 85% organic ingredients compared to Whole Foods' paltry 26%. Park Slop charges just a 21% mark-up, saving shoppers up to 40%, or $4,8000, a year. The Santa Fe Community Coop aims for a 29% mark-up at the beginning and hopes to reduce that over time.

The co-op will include an eating area, community room, cooking classes, nutritional programs, child-care and desks for doing homework. Click here for more info and to learn how to become a member.

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