Greg McCorkle
Harry Cadell of West Seattle samples one of the many soups during the Soup Off at Big Al Brewing in White Center Sunday, Feb, 12. The weekly event is a competition among local soup aficionados and food lovers. This week’s winner was Colleen Crowe. CLICK THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE MORE

Good food brings people together for conversation and beer at Big Al Brewing in White Center

By Greg McCorkle

The West Seattle Cooking Club converged on White Center Sunday evening, Feb. 12 for the weekly “Soup Off” hosted by Big Al Brewing. Every week a different type of soup is featured and participants prepare their version for consideration.

West Seattle Cooking Club was started by Jennifer Gibson and Aaron Debnam. They would create gourmet home created snacks to pair with beers and share with customers at Beverage Place. That eventually grew into an Iron Chef style competition with full on entrées.

This week was an open competition with fifteen different types of soups presented:

  • Captain B’s Fish Stew
  • Wanton Mushroom
  • Pea and Mint
  • Oxtail
  • Butternut Squash
  • Mexican Carrot
  • Peanut
  • Sage Paneer
  • Cheeseburger
  • White Bean Kale
  • Asian Noddle
  • Chicken and Dumpling
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Seafood Chowder

This week’s winner was Colleen Crowe with her Pea and Mint soup. Tied for second was Devrum Ozkan- Peanut soup- and Aaron Debnam- Smoked Salmon Chowder.

The Soup Off came to Big Al Brewing when Devrum Ozkan- who tends bar at Big Al’s- had a competitive conversation about cooking with one of the regulars at BA’s. Devrum believed whatever soup the regular could do she could do better. The fallowing Sunday they both brought a soup to challenge each other and Devrun won by a vote of regulars at the pub. The loser believed he didn’t bring his “A” game and wanted a rematch. Other erstwhile chefs wanted to get into the act, and the Soup Off at Big Al Brewing took shape.
No money is exchanged in Soup Off and anyone in attendance can sample and vote.

Voting is a blind taste test with the soups poured behind the scene into lettered containers so know body knows whose soup belongs to whom. Tasters vote on their favorite soup and a winner is crowned. The winner gets bragging rights for one week, or until the next competition. Usually there are five to seven participants on any given Sunday.

The next Soup Off will be this coming Sunday, February 19th at 4pm., and the soup will be Clam Chowder. Come to Big Al Brewing to drink great craft beers and sample- for free- equally great soup. Or, if you’re so inclined, test your cooking skills and be a participant.

Any way you slice it, or pour it. Good beer, good food, and good conversation make “Soup Off” a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

To learn more about the West Seattle Cooking Club go to (they also have a Facebook page)

To know more about Big Al Brewing go to

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