This Month’s Q&A is with Joanne Cameron of Thistlemist Soup.
Joanne how did you end up in the soup business?
For many years I used to work in the banking industry, first for Nat West and then for the Halifax, but I felt that my natural creative instincts were not being satisfied so I trained to be a chef, first at a restaurant then at Thomas Danby College. When I started a family I needed to have a more flexible work life balance and that is when I began Thistlemist Soups.
Where did you first sell your soups?
My first market was Leeds Farmers’ Market. I now do Oakwood, Headingley, Horsforth and Farsley farmers’ markets as well as Leeds University every Monday during term time. I also supply restaurants and cafes.
How do you source your ingredients?
Wherever possible I buy from other stall holders but always buy locally. I used to grow my own vegetables and fruit on my allotment but it was impossible for me to keep on top of that as well as making the soup.
How do you make the soup?
I have three 24 litre stainless steel pans which I make the soup in, which when full are as heavy as I can manage. I use 99% vegetarian ingredients which are mainly gluten free.
How many different types of soup do you make?
I make approximately twelve different soups a week. I like to make different types of soups using seasonal produce. Over the years I must have made over a hundred different types and making up the different recipes is very satisfying. Customers give me ideas as well. I like to look at a recipe for a main course and think how it might be as a soup – my Patatas Bravas, for example.
What are your best selling soups?
Mostly it depends on the weather and the type of people who come to the various markets. My two best-selling soups at the moment are Patatas Bravas and Peppery Pea and Lentil. I find that people are more adventurous with soup than they used to be, although traditional soups are always popular.
What is your favourite pop song?
Life is a Minestrone by 10cc
Have you any favourite TV programmes?
Well I used to like the Clangers, in fact in the restaurant where I worked they used to call me the Soup Dragon. I watch a lot of cookery programmes and in the Great British Bake Off I do enjoy SueP erkins.
Thank you Joanne – See you on Saturday, let’s hope its souper weather.