Sparkling silver soup ladles adorn the walls of the Karma Kameleon’s dining room.
Awarded at competitions as part of the annual Empty Bowls soup fundraiser for Bethlehem Housing, Chefs William Brunyansky and wife Shannon Lindsay recently captured their last two ladles for People’s Choice and the Platinum Ladle, presented after a number of prestigious judges voted on soups at the event at Club Roma.
Among them was Chef John Higgins, who has prepared food for Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
Not your everyday, ordinary judge.
But the Brunyanskys are not accustomed to making ordinary soup.
Their winning entry, a curried celeryroot and apple with coconut cashew ginger chicken, rice and tamarind soup with crème fraiche, required a team approach, using “a conveyor belt system,” he explained. “Everyone put on a different topping.”
The labour-intensive concoction consisted of several steps, such as “Marinating the chicken, poaching the fruit, making the rice, and scooping the rice balls. Every year, the competition seems to get stronger. The first year, it was more simple. We did Thai coconut curry with crispy chicken, and every year, it’s grown. Constantly coming up with new recipes is what makes it fun; then we see what makes it to the (restaurant) menu.”
Previously, he’s captured both the People’s Choice and Platinum Ladle awards in 2015, followed by the People’s Choice in 2016.
“We did it for two years, then did some other fundraisers, and got in it again this year,” the chef told ThoroldNews. This year, “We won the People’s Choice and the Judge’s Choice, which doesn’t happen very often. Now, we’re already trying to figure out what we’re doing next year. We were excited that we won.”
According to Brunyansky, “This year, there were 20 or so other chefs. Their goal was to raise $50,000 and they surpassed that.”
Other chefs competed from the Stone Mill Ballroom, White Oaks, Wind, Fallsview Casino and Ravine Vineyard Restaurant, among other high-end Niagara eateries.
Participants who purchase a ticket pay a premium price to try all the soups.
“Everybody’s bowl is different, artisan-made, and you get to keep the bowl. These are the people we try and get into the restaurant every day,” he said, of his Front Street gastropub.
Reflecting on five and a half years of offering creative elevated cuisine in Thorold, he said, “It’s been great. We’re finally growing into what we expected. It took a lot of hard work and patience. Changing the name (from Panini Café to Karma Kameleon) and making it our own and growing the clientele has made all the difference.”