Seven chefs from Cranbrook and Kimberley, B.C., competed in the first-ever Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge, a fundraiser to support the Cranbrook Salvation Army's efforts to build a shelter for homeless men, women and children.

For each round, two chefs went head to head, preparing soup at the Army's soup kitchen using only the ingredients on hand. The chefs then served lunch to kitchen's clients, who voted on their favourite soups. Winners advanced to the next round.

“Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely, including the clients who enjoyed being able to take part,” says Captain Kirk Green, corps officer, Cranbrook—Kootenay Valley Community Church.

The Salvation Army's own chef, Kathy Morey, advanced to the final round, a public luncheon where she faced Shelby Schiller, chef at BJ's Diner and Creekside Pub. More than 170 people attended the luncheon.

Though Schiller took the top prize in the end, the biggest winner was The Salvation Army, says Captain Green.

“The event not only helped to raise funds, but also created an increased awareness of the plight of the homeless or persons at risk of homelessness,” he notes. Speaking at the luncheon, Captain Green challenged the crowd to speak to their elected officials about moving the Army's shelter project forward to provide dignity and safety to those vulnerable in their community.

In the end, the event raised $10,000, which will be split between the Army and the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation.

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