The great Ward 8 soup debate at the Killarney Glengarry community hall on Sept. 30 brought out a big crowd to taste the candidates’ soup and sample their election pitches.
Incumbent Evan Woolley, candidate Chris Davis, and candidate Carter Thomson were all present, but candidate Karla Charest was ill and couldn’t attend.
The purpose of the debate was to have a healthy discussion about the issues that candidates will be facing if they are elected as councillor in the Oct. 16 civic election.
The idea was to see if “your taste buds match your political tastes,” said organizer and Killarney visual artist, Melisa Centofanti during her opening remarks.
Centofanti thought it is important to bring a little bit of art into the political world.
She looks at the soup being an art form, and it intrigued a lot more people by bringing in light-heartedness to the “serious” event.
In 2011, Centofanti proposed to the Killarney Glengarry Community Association to start adding the food element into the political forums they hosted.
It started out with “Pie for PC candidate.”
The event’s inspiration was an activist who tried to throw a pie in a PC candidate’s face in 2007. Centofanti said she added that in her speech in 2011 to kick off the idea.
“We’re better off around the table discussing issues than trying to be aggressive,” said Centofanti.
She said the “polarization is not productive” and having a discussion or being engaged with each other is in the participants’ better interest.
Centofanti said food is a great way to be engaged.
The different soups that the candidates brought included: chicken vegetable with Killarney vegetables, potato bacon, and chicken cabbage vegetable.
Davis and his stepmother made his soup the night before, with vegetables from his mother in law’s garden in Killarney.
Woolley made a potato bacon soup, which was his grandmother’s recipe, with his mother.
“It’s a family favourite,” said Woolley.
He also said his grandmother would have never added bacon to it, and it is a “poor man’s soup.”
He said that bacon added to anything just adds more “deliciousness.”
“It was completely fun,” said Thomson.
He could smell his soup with the cabbage while it was being heated up.
He got his soup from the convenience store he runs, One Way Foods and Deli, in Sunalta.
“Cooking is not really my forte,” said Thomson.
(See if) your taste buds match your political tastes. – Melisa Centofanti
Centofanti said people usually look to sculptures or other visual pieces as a form of art, but soup is more of a “public art.”
Public art is important locally, to engage community members, and Centofanti sees this as part of her “artistic social practise.”