“It started with the girls,” says Matt Gollan, looking across the table at mate and business partner, Jakob Dolan. It’s not what you think; the guys are explaining how their passion project, Soup Group, came into being. Along with third business partner and friend, Robert Watson, the idea was the result of two things; a love of cooking and a competitive edge to outsell the gelato-slinging American girls next door.
“They were out there every day making gelato and spinning records and just having a good time and we thought, we could beat that,” explains Gollan. The Soup Group’s inaugural event was a modest gathering of 20 friends, with no real intentions or expectations, other than a chance for the three to show-off their cooking. “The worst case was that we’d end up with a shitload lot of soup,” laughs Gollan.
Originally, Soup Group was about clean eating. Fresh ingredients are sourced from the Flemington Markets on the Saturday prior to each event, and many evenings in the lead up are spent pulling apart and putting together recipes. Past events have served up ham-hock soup with seasonal greens, and even a special summer pho.
This weekend, as temperatures drop, Gollan and Dolan (Watson is currently off sailing the open ocean) will bring a deconstructed pork-roast soup to the streets of Redfern. With all the sides included; honey-glazed carrots, garlic-infused roasted potatoes and pea pesto will compliment slow-roasted pork and salt-roasted pumpkin seeds, topped off with a spicy homemade applesauce. Even better, it will all be served in environmentally friendly, recycled-paper containers.
“We have met so many people,” Dolan says. “Relationships have started from Soup Group.” It’s true that the boys don’t shy away from the match-making potential that comes with a hot bowl of soup and a shared beverage.
As the three friends gear up for the fifth installment of Soup Group, they’re preparing for a big one, making 200 litres of soup and their first officially hired venue, Work Shop in Redfern. Brewery Young Henrys has also jumped on board to support the event. For $10, soup lovers can indulge in a delicious bowl of soup, a drink and some live music.
It’s not about profit, the hope is that the event will develop into even more of a community; the group is encouraging others to contribute. “Making this a community event opens up so much opportunity. We want to start involving anything you might find in a market,” says Dolan. “It’s amazing to see how much potential there is in this.”
Soup Group will be held on Sunday June 15 from 1pm at The Work Shop, 80 George Street, Redfern.