SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — In The Maine Mall’s alive aliment court, Kamasouptra sticks out like a sore, absolute thumb.
Named afterwards the age-old Indian argument on sensuality, the Portland soup aggregation is accomplishing its best to agitate your palate.
“For a while soup got a bad rap,” said Mike Jerome, who runs the retail and broad aliment business with his two siblings. “Soup can be sexy.”
From beef goulash, to broiled cheese and tomato, to broiled red pepper and gouda, this is not your grandmother’s broth. They accept a dozen soups in their playbook — “nine that everybody loves and three specials,” said Jerome.
Many, such as curried basis vegetable and lentil, are healthy. Starting with a attic milk base, controlling chef Drew Kinney adds celery root, parsnips, turnips, chicken curry, coriander and cinnamon.
“Similar to Indian aliment in Britain,” said Jerome.
The best accepted soup — candied potato blah borsch — has alone a thimble abounding of chrism in anniversary serving.
“Our ambition is to accomplish Maine the soup basic of the world,” said Jerome, a Scotland built-in and alum of Texas Comestible Academy in Austin who formed in the accommodation industry and confused to Portland to escape the heat.
Then came the winter and an idea.
While alive at Portland Pie Co. as a manager, Jerome discerned a comestible void.
“I accomplished there was a gap in the market. Soup appearance on about everyone’s menu, but if you assignment in a kitchen, soup is never anyone’s focus,” he said in a aside Scottish brogue. “Everyone’s done their basic for the evening, accession comes on and says, ‘Who’s activity to accomplish the soup?’ No one wants to accomplish the soup.”
So he stepped in.
Jerome and his acquaintance Kinney, who was alive at The Grill Room & Bar, busy a bartering kitchen in Monument Square and started to experiment.
They created a veggie chili and formed their way through 200 soups afore clearing on nine standards. Back again business has been on a accelerated boil.
“Maine is such a abundant abode to advertise soup. Our acquirement has angled every year back we began,” said Joe Jerome, the company’s arch banking officer.
Offering artistic soups fabricated with care, adulation and locally sourced capacity are a few reasons. Another is soup’s blockage power.
“It’s been about forever. Soup is not a fad,” said Mike.
The flavors booty a while to marry, but abnormal to serve. “We are the fastest food. You don’t accept to delay for a sandwich to be made,” said Mike.
And that speaks to today’s on-the-go consumers who are not affable as abundant at home. “They appetite to eat out but they appetite to eat healthy,” he said.
They can acquisition Kamasouptra at Bard Coffee and East End Cupcakes in Portland and Giacomo’s in city Bangor, for example. The average-size basin costs $5.60.
Kamasouptra has backward on the move, admission from affairs bristles gallons of veggie chili a anniversary to pumping out 750 gallons awash from Ogunquit to Kingfield. In March they relocated their assembly operations from Yarmouth to a 3,000-square-foot bartering kitchen in Eliot.
And they are not done yet.
The aggregation of 30-somethings — including Joe and Mike’s sister Sarah Jerome — plan to accessible a new bistro in Freeport or Brunswick this year. Boston is next.
“Boston would accessible a accomplished new broad bazaar for us,” said Mike, who at 32 is agog to see his Sebago beer and cheddar and Italian white bean and kale soups sipped up and bottomward the coast.
Starting the year off with active sales and the advice of a arctic vortex, Kamasouptra seems to be in the appropriate abode at the appropriate time.
This ages they landed their aboriginal academy annual at the University of Southern Maine.
Located in the Woodbury Campus Center in Portland, Kamasouptra is deepening a growing bounded aliment cloister that includes Coffee By Design and Portland Pie Co. Chris Kinney, accepted administrator at Aramark, who oversees the school’s dining services, was agog about the addition.
“Students acknowledge and apperceive that the soup is fabricated by Maine people. It’s a Maine business success story,” said Kinney.
Though Aramark chefs accomplish chowder, chili, and vegan soups and stews, “on a academy campus bodies are bistro assorted times a week, so alteration it up is important,” said Kinney.
Plus, the buy-local movement is able on campus. Students appeal beneath aliment afar on their plates and approach to brands they know. “Some bodies accomplish their choices on what they appetite to acquirement based on whether it’s local. There is a comfortability allotment too,” he said.
As the aggregation alcove its fifth year of business they are added adequate with success. But they are not comatose on their ladles.
“We are accepting bigger at it,” Mike said. “Everything takes time. Opening up our aboriginal retail abundance took two years to be perfect. We don’t accept all the answers.”
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