Soup has always served as a source of comfort and healing across cultures, but it’s not just for soothing winter’s sore throats. Ben LeBlanc, founder of Good Stock Soups, wants to get soup out of its seasonal box with high-quality ingredients served in bowls year round. Here, we talk about how he ended up in the food business and which soups work for summer.
You can find Ben’s seasonal soups at shops and food halls around the city. They cater, too.
Edible Brooklyn: You’re from Louisiana, one of the food meccas of the world. What led you to soup?
Ben LeBlanc: I had the desire to create something after transitioning from finance, and food was it. A friend and I started talking about how we could get the best of every type of cuisine in the world in Manhattan, but there wasn’t a place to get great soup, especially gumbo, which I really missed. I knew that no matter how weird the idea of a soup-only restaurant was, that once I perfected my gumbo recipe, it’d be the best in NYC, and I think it is.
EB: Soups are often consumed during colder temperatures, or an under-the-weather elixir. Why should one enjoy soup year round?
BL: In the warmer months, fruits and vegetables are at peak season, so we take advantage of the access to those fresh ingredients. Chilled soups are perfect on a hot day, either on their own or as a complement to a broader meal. Counterintuitively, hot soups on a hot day actually help cool you down by forcing your body to combat the heat. Ultimately, delicious is always in season. If it tastes great, it’s worth eating.
EB: How do you develop some of your warmer-weather soup recipes?
BL: Our chef, David Santos, can take what seems like a random idea and turn it into something delicious. One of my favorite Good Stock soups was inspired by a Momofuku Noodle Bar side dish from three years ago, a sweet corn salad with jalapeño and coconut. Fast forward and “The Unknown Favorite” was born. It’s a corn, coconut and green chile chowder that’s easily one of our most popular soups.
EB: Tell us about the soups you’re enjoying the during the summer months.
BL: We’re developing chilled soups, like Mango & Red Curry, that have some spice and add contrast. Right now, I love hot soups that are lighter with flavorful broth and a little spice. Our Coconut Chicken and Mushroom Miso fit the bill there.