For a chef who can boast to be the reigning Whistler Harvest Soup Contest winner, Tory Martindale is remarkably humble. The recently appointed executive chef at the Four Seasons Resort is very happy with the win.
Like any athlete who excels at their sport or businessperson who has made millions, Martindale is looking ahead now to the holiday season. American Thanksgiving is coming up on Nov. 22 and Christmas Day will be here before we know it just one month later. Martindale has big plans for both holidays.
First, there's the matter of the award-winning soup.
The inspiration for the soup that was declared the winner at the contest, which is a fundraiser for the Whistler Waldorf School, came from Santa Barbara, California. While working there the menu included a very popular butternut squash soup.
"Everybody loves butternut squash soup," says Martindale in one of the overly comfortable and extra large leather chairs at Fifty-Two 80 Bar. "Me personally, I'm not a big butternut squash soup guy but people love butternut squash soup and I also love Thai coconut curries because they are very flavourful. I thought, why don't we try something that's a cross between it, so we went and married a Thai coconut red curry soup with butternut squash soup and it was magical."
The soup was created just for the event.
Not bad for a guy who grew up and first did cooks training at the community college in Prince George before moving to Vancouver. Back in 1994 the coast of B.C. called and Martindale's relationship with the Four Seasons began.
Martindale says the Four Seasons will be back to defend its soup title next year and he'll come up with something new and different for the competition in 2013.
"It's either bacon or shrimp. Everybody goes crazy for one or the other," he muses. "It might be bacon-oriented next year, we'll have to see, but then I was already playing with the idea of using a soup I did years ago as a line cook. It's actually an orange and roasted beetroot soup so I might do a combo of that and maybe have a bacon component.
"I'm not sure yet. We'll have to see."
While the soup was created for the event it is a recipe Martindale has been stewing on for more than a year. He first intended to enter the soup in last year's contest but he was called over to the Four Seasons in Dublin at this time last year. He helped open the hotel in 2001 so it is a property he knows well. The chef in Dublin needed some coverage leading up to the Christmas holidays and Martindale took up the challenge, meaning his Whistler soup supremacy was on hold for a year.