Category Archives: Interviews

Souperstar: Joanne Gray

Joanne has been involved with Brighton Soup since December 2016 (almost two years!) and regularly cooks up a delicious soup for our events. Ahead of our next Soup at  Community Base on the 30th November (tickets here!), we caught up with Joe to find out all about her cooking…

What are your favourite things to cook? 


I love love love Indian food, so I tend to cook a lot of different Indian curries and street food – my husband recently bought me the most amazing cookbook called Fresh India by Meera Sodha. Its all vegetarian recipes that are super easy to make and all of them so far are delicious.  I basically like cooking food that I really enjoy eating, so that does usually involve recipes with a bit of a kick as I am a bit of a spice and chilli fan!  My most memorable and favourite soup for a Brighton Soup event was Joe’s Split Chickpea, Spinach & Masala Soup – as you’d expect, it was nice and spicy and seemed to go down well amongst those who tried it!

How did you first get interested in cooking? 

I’ve been cooking since I was young. My parents always encouraged my sisters and I to help make dinners, and my passion for food and cooking has continued throughout my life.  I actually remember ‘outsourcing’ my mincemeat pie making skills at Christmas when I was about 10…a friend of my mums didn’t have the time to make them herself so I baked them for her and she paid me nicely (probably only about £2 but it felt a lot back then!)

What has been your most complicated/ interesting cooking to date? 


In terms of interesting dishes, I’d say making our own halloumi cheese from scratch and then cooking with it has to be up there.  Homemade halloumi is delicious, really light and airy and full of flavour – 100 x better than the shop bought stuff!  We made all sorts of recipes with it, including coating in breadcrumbs and having it with portobello mushrooms and spinach in a toasted brioche bun, with some sriracha mayo for a bit of a kick!  My ethos with cooking is that it doesn’t need to be overly complicated, using good fresh ingredients and trying out new recipes with them is what its all about for me!

How did you first get involved with Brighton Soup?

My sister lives in Folkestone and had been involved with Folkestone Soup, so when I happened to see an advert one day for Brighton Soup I decided to go along and find out what it was all about.  I absolutely loved the event, I think it is wonderful on so many levels, from encouraging the community to get together, to find out about the issues and opportunities in our community to of course helping so good causes with some financial support to help their sustainability.  So I decided to become a regular Soup go-er!  I think it was on my 2nd Soup event that I got chatting to one of the organisers and somehow managed to sign myself up to making soup!!  The rest is history, I now go regularly to Brighton Soup with my husband, daughter and parents – who all love it!  My Dad has now also become a regular bread maker!

Where are you from? Are there any delicacies/ regional dishes we should try?
I am originally from Scotland but grew up in the South of England. My Scottish roots still influence my soup making. My Gran made the best soup ever with barley, lentils and split peas being her favourite basis for her different soups – so I often adapt versions of my Gran’s old recipes.  My Gran also used to make a meal called ‘Beef Olives’ which is thinly cut steak filled with either sausages or haggis and slow cooked in a onion gravy. Its comfort food at it’s absolute best, served with mash and greens! My daughter loves it too, so it’s one that we’ll make on a winter’s Sunday!

Sounds delicious!

Joe runs her own business consultancy called The Progress Lab  which specialises in organisational change, people development, sales and marketing. She is also a Pilates instructor and regularly hosts Women’s Well-Being events in Hove with a Nutritionist friend. She also runs a Lifelines Pilates class for those who are 50+ in Portslade.

If you fancy tasting one of Joe’s delicious soup recipes, don’t forget to book your tickets for the next soup!

Team Soup




Souperstar: Ayten Gasson

Back in the summer of 2016, we had an amazing soup evening at the lovely Revival Café at Emmaus. At the end of the evening a couple of women – Ayten and Joe – came over to say how much they really enjoyed the whole evening and wanted to help.

Ayten wanted to donate a box of luxury goods to our next raffle,  and Joe wanted to cook us some delicious soup. And true to their word, they did – and have many times since!

Recently we spoke to them about why they wanted to get involved. In a few weeks we will hear from Joe, but first up is Ayten. Ayten runs the Ayten Gasson boutique, which sells ethical luxury items.

I first heard about Brighton Soup through a very good friend of mine who had been before and spoke passionately about it. I now regularly attend and prepare a raffle prize for each event for my own little way of supporting the cause. My friend now actually prepares soup for the night so she, along with the whole Brighton Soup community, is really quite inspirational!

There are a number of things I love about the event but something that really stands out for me is the clear empathy and commitment of those involved. It shows us that there are people out there who want to make things better and lend a helping hand. With so much uncertainty and, frankly, terrible things going on in the world right now it’s comforting to know that there are good people who want to get involved and do what they can for their community.

As the owner of my company and boutique I love to see other independent business owners taking the time to support people trying to get an idea off the ground. They are all so supportive, whether that means volunteering, donating or just simply attending.

I’m originally from London and started my business there but I can’t think of anywhere else I would have wanted to open my boutique. It is a bit of a cliché but Brighton does have a certain feel about the place and I’ve definitely felt support from the wide range of independent businesses we have in the city.

As a parent I’m always interested in any projects and ideas presented at the soup nights that concern or involve children and also, as someone runs a creative business, I’m always impressed by anyone using their creativity to help others.

Brighton Soup is a great way to help the community and get inspired at the same time. Everyone is so dedicated to what they do that you can’t help but come away wanting to do more.

The ‘Ayten Gasson Boutique’ can be found at 32A Bath Street, or online at

Ayten has once again donated a raffle prize for our upcoming event (Friday 28th September at All Saints, Hove) Quick link for tickets here!


Souperstar: Martin Pritchard of Chu Chu Burmese Kitchen

Just before our last Soup Event (@ St George’s Hangleton) we caught up with one of our talented chefs, Martin Pritchard, who once again provided deliciou soup from from his Chu Chu Burmese Kitchen.

Martin & Tara Pritchard first joined us as volunteers in early 2017. They came to help set up at our May event, and we were all blown away by their boundless energy! Since then, they’ve volunteered at other events, and Martin has become one of our favourite soup chefs. Today, we’ve met him at ‘The Food Rocks’ market in Horsham, where he has a pitch every Thursday and Saturday selling delicious Burmese food.

Martin, how did you and Tara meet?

I was on my travels in Hawaii, queuing at a youth hostel. Tara was in the queue too! We got talking, and then met again on a flight to the Cook Islands. It went from there! We travelled together in New Zealand, and then lived together in Sydney, Australia for 9 months. When we returned to the UK, we moved in together and eventually married in 2009. We lived for a while in Chessington (near the theme park) but both loved the sea and came to Brighton whenever we could. We eventually moved here, but with our jobs don’t get to the beach as often as we’d like!

How did you get interested in cooking?

I grew up in Cheltenham, where I learnt to be a meat-and-veg man with a particular passion for peas soaked in vinegar! Later on, I studied Tourism and Management at Brighton Uni, living mainly on burgers and potatoes in all their guises. Tara, on the other hand, had grown up all over the world, eating spicy food in countries like Malaysia when she was just a kid. I guess I had a sort of ultimatum: “If you want this relationship to move forward, you need to expand your eating habits!”

So what happened?

We had an Italian housemate called Gino when we lived in Sydney, and he showed me some simple Italian dishes that inspired me. I found a love of cooking and have been making up for lost time ever since. Having been employed as a Payroll Manager for 17 years, I realised it was not what I had set out to do and it was driving me crazy. I hated being office bound and needed to do something different so I set up my own food business. Tara’s father is Anglo Burmese, and we decided that as Burmese food isn’t really known in the UK we would like to try and change that. Tara still has a job that takes her all over the world, but we’d both like to be able to dedicate ourselves to this line of work.

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The food is delicious! I just had a Dhal, which is quite like Indian or Nepali but also a bit different! And tea leaf salad?

Burmese Cuisine could be characterised by its use of fish (fish sauce and ngapi, which is shrimp paste) and drip shrimp, but it also takes influences from the countries it borders: Bangladesh, India, China, Thailand and Laos.

Many of the dishes we serve are traditional family recipes, the Oh No Khao Swe  (Chicken, Coconut & Egg Curry) is one of Tara’s Grandad’s recipes and one of the favourite things to eat in her family. “Chu Chu”, the name of the business, comes from the family name for the crispy egg noodles that are liberally sprinkled on the Oh No Khao Swe.

Laphet, or Tea Leaf Salad, is a ubiquitous Burmese dish. It is said that the Burmese are the only nationality to eat tea as well as drink it. The young tea leaves are picked and buried in sacks underground to ferment for anything between 6 months and 2 years. The tea leaves are then served over a salad of shredded veg (cabbage and lettuce), and served with numerous toppings such as crispy onion, crispy garlic, shrimp powder, mixed nuts and beans for the crunch that the Burmese love so much, along with the dressing of fish sauce, garlic oil and lime juice.

How did you get involved with Brighton Soup?

To be honest, Tara signed up for it initially. She was interested in what Brighton Soup do, and wanted to help out and try to make a difference to the community we live in, and I tagged along. I like what it stands for. There is a really nice environment at the events, and its great to be able to contribute to charities by doing what I do!

Martin can be found every Thursday and Saturday at the Food Rocks Market, Carfax, Horsham. If you love food, and particularly spicy food, then try this place out! Its just a bit different!

Chu Chu Burmese Kitchen

Team Soup



It’s All About the Connection – Interview with Nicola Allen

Hello Soupa peeps! 

At the last Soup night at St. Luke’s, I got chatting with Nicola who’s one of our soup regulars. I discovered that she’s now a public face of Action of Elder Abuse, having a photo of herself as part of Rejuvenation, a photography exhibition at Brighton Station. I went to find out more.

Tell me a bit about yourself. I can hear the accent.  

I live in Kemptown now but I’m actually from Manchester. I left there when I was 16, then I went travel and work around the world before settling down in Brighton. I’ve done all kinds of works. I’ve even been on the stage at the Theatre Royal! 

That must have been quite an amazing experience! How did you come across BrightonSoup?

A couple years ago, I’ve seen an advert in the newsagent’s window. It said “Do you like soup? Do you like people? Well, come to Brighton Soup!” And I like trying lots of different things. I thought I would just come see what it’s about. I’ve been to at least 6 BrightonSoups since. Each time I’ve brought loads of people with me. It’s cheap. it’s a great night out.

And The raffle prizes are worth going for alone! 

Didn’t your friend win a raffle prize from one of our regular chefs – a private dining experience?

Yes she did! The chef was Sam Redfern, who turned up and served 5 of us three courses dinner. We explained to him that we only had a tiny kitchen. So he said he would cook it at home and bring it to the house. He brought it all in tupperware,. Then he came to collect it after we finished. It was such a fantastic prize!

 What prompted you to get involved with the Elder Abuse Recovery Service (EARS)?

I went to BrightonSoup one night and this lady was doing a wonderful pitch. It was for a charity that was developing and piloting in Brighton. I wanted to find a charity that I could, hopefully make a difference and help it grow. Also I was drawn to a charity that helps the older generation. I think the elderly are amazing, but they’re brushed aside. 

What’s your role there and how has the experience has been for you?

I’m a Befriender. I take someone who has been financially abused out. And I integrate them back into the society. I give up my time to reach out to people who live quite far out like Eastbourne. It isn’t one-sided. When I started, I didn’t realise how much I’d get out of it. It’s making me view things completely different.  I have gained so much by sourcing out places to take people to. Salvation Army has brilliant activities, even provides a pick-up service. It  has given me a font of a knowledge. And I has met some truly amazing people – there was an old lady who was blind. She was 80 and a rug maker!

You’re also involved with the Rejuvenation community project, how did that happen?

It is part of an Older People’s Festival. The poster at the station is about people who are over 50 and their volunteer work. I wanted to raise the publicity for EARS and their works. We desperately need more volunteers. 

Before I let you go, can you describe BrightonSoup in 3 words?

Souptastic. Community. Inspire.

Well described, Nicola!

Well big thank you to Nicola for taking the time to speak to us, and I have to say I’m completely in awe of how passionate and dedicated she is in her volunteering role.

If you want to find out more about the groups she’s involved with check out Action of Elder Abuse, their Elder Abuse Recovery Service (EARS). Or contact Gail Shanahan directly on 07508 823 975 or Gail is their Volunteer Co-ordinator and the lady doing the wonderful pitch that inspired Nicola to get involved.

As an aside, if you check our event post A Festive BrightonSoup @ Community Base from last December you’ll see Nicola and friends all dressed up for Christmas!

You can also see more about the Rejuvenation photography exhibition at Brighton Station.

That’s all for now. I hope you to see you at our next soup @ Community Base on Dec 8th. Hope you can make it.

(Tom Khai Kai)

An Interview with Soup Regulars

We get a lot of feedback after our events, from people that attend, the people pitching and those getting involved and helping out. At a previous Soup event I had the chance to chat with a couple of regular soup attendees, Matt Brabner and Lisa Curne, and ask what they thought …

What first attracted you to Brighton Soup?

Matt: I can’t remember where I had read about it but my first introduction to Soup was actually reading about Stoneham Bakehouse [previous winners promoting baking as therapy] and their success; from there I read more about Brighton Soup, having been familiar with the concept hearing about Detroit Soup, and I just found the website and thought “right its only £4, lets go!”. Lisa came along and we brought a few other friends with us; it was the event at the Emmaus in the summer, just a gorgeous night. In fact I think it was the week after Brexit and everyone was a little fed up and we just came away thinking how lovely it was.

Lisa: Absolutely, just a really nice evening; great to see something good happening while everything else seemed a bit glum.

What do you enjoy most?

Matt: For me its the pitches; I mean even if its quite tough topics to listen to its all really positive which what they’re trying to achieve.

Lisa: Its really nice to know what’s going on in your community. As we mentioned before; in amongst the Brexit stuff it really restores my faith in people; there are extraordinary people out there doing amazing things for the good of other people.

There are extraordinary people out there doing amazing things for the good of other people”

Any really memorable pitches?

Lisa: The one that always sticks out in my mind is the Free university Brighton. I wondered how they were able to do something that wonderful for nothing haha. It was also a very different pitch in terms of goals and what they were trying to achieve.

Matt: What sticks out for me isn’t just the pitches but the fact that its not huge sums of money going to these people but about £400 odd; very much unlike the big national charities, and through that you get a real sense of how much they need this money and how much good it will do.

Now, important question, if you could be any soup what would you be?

Matt: Oh now I’m not sure; I’ve never been asked what soup I’d be haha. I certainly know what soup I like but I don’t know if that’s the soup I’d be. I’m a bit partial to Heinz with a nice bit of white toast. a good old Saturday afternoon comfort soup.

Great answer!

And you know what, I feel hungry now for a good serving of soup and toast too! Well thank you Matt and Lisa, I’m sure we’ll see you again soon!

If you think a Brighton Soup evening sounds like something for you then get yourself a ticket, we’d love to see you there!

That’s all from me, but have a great week everyone and stay hearty Brighton!

(Leek & Potato)

An Interview with Xavier Armani – Republic to Bloom

When we took it to the Bridge, Xavier Armani from republic (now named Bloom) pitched his brilliant venture of a community coffee hub in Brighton, nurturing development through barista skills, for anyone finding themselves in tough circumstances. So we’ve caught up with with him to hear all about his experience with us, and how they’ve been since September.

So Xavier, how did you find out about Soup?

I had heard about it through my colleague, Amy, who runs another One Church project called Chomp and she spoke about how great an experience it was for her, despite that she didn’t win. Then hearing little bits from others here and there, I really felt like it would be a terrific thing for myself and for Bloom.

Oh fantastic, so what made you decide to apply, how did you get the ball rolling?

After looking for fundraising at so many places, Soup sounded bloom3really human centred and  real, which appealed a lot to me. So, I applied and then had a coffee with Will and Karin [Team Soupers] and we spoke about Bloom and Soup. My application would be further reviewed and, if successful, I would be contacted to prepare for the pitch. Since Bloom was only a couple months old I wasn’t very optimistic, needless to say I was delighted to hear that I’d been accepted.

Ah, that must of been exciting. How did you prepare for the big night?

Public speaking isn’t really a strong point for me but, drawing on the pitch-making session the Soup provided me and the support from my friends and family, I felt like I was where I should be.

You definitely were! So, how did you find the night? Talk us through your first Soup experience!

I was anxious, worried that I wouldn’t communicate clearly enough and that the audience’s understanding of Bloom and, to an extent, myself would be skewed. The evening didn’t start well, I arrived late and didn’t have enough money to buy my own ticket (actually I think I still owe you guys 67 pence).

Then I sat down at my table and got talking to the 14543799_1236028339792647_4094036179619985018_o
other pitchers, all of whom are doing wonderful work, and I started to relax a bit. I don’t remember any of my pitch (kinda blacked out), I remember the soup was terrific (some spicy Mexican bean thing) and being congratulated by everyone I walked past (my favourite part of the evening).

“I found the whole evening a wonderful experience, meeting new and inspirational people and connecting with the community of Brighton and Hove, I felt very grateful to be given that opportunity.”

Awesome, that’s great to hear. So how have you and Bloom been since Soup?

Really great Stephanie, we’ve had a positive effect on lots of people and a handful of our Jedis have journeyed all the way to employment and even more have graduated with certification.

Wow that’s fantastic, so pleased to hear its going so well. It’s absolutely incredible work you’re doing, helping turn around peoples lives, its very inspiring. Is Republic still looking for support and funding to continue your journey?

Yes indeed, we’re always looking for facilitating the fullest version of our offering and making it as sustainable as possible.

Well if anyone out there wants to get involved and support Bloom further, get in touch!

Thanks so much for speaking with us Xavier; but lastly, if you were a soup, which would you be?!

Well, I’ve never been asked that before. Probably a miso soup, it’s simple but very nourishing.

Ha, great choice! Well thanks for your time Xavier, keep doing what you’re doing!

We love what we do at BrightonSoup, and we hope you do too. If you want to see more of what Xavier and Bloom are doing you can check them out on facebook and instagram.

Our next BrightonSoup event is next month on Friday the 24th February @ St George’s Church Hall in Hangleton. There’s still time to submit for this event so if you have a project that needs funding and support, the deadline is next week on 2nd February. So get in touch and submit your idea!

That’s it from me, so have a great weekend, till next time.

(Tom Yum)

Team Soup

An Interview with Dare to be Charlie

Recently on BrightonSoup‘s radio show we had Charlie Savigar of Dare to be Charlie  on with our very own Mike Willis. Charlie is one of the brilliant artists we have had perform at a Soup event. So we took some time to chat to her…

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So how did you first get involved with Brighton Soup?

Charlie: So it was just over a year ago; I had just moved into the area and we were looking for places to play and came across BrightonSoup and noticed they did live music at their events. So we contacted you guys and ask if you’d be interested in having us come down and they were more than happy. To be honest we didn’t really know anything about Soup prior to that so it was all a bit unknown but we really enjoyed it.

So “Dare to be Charlie” how did the name come about?

Charlie: Well its actually a mix of mine and my husbands first names (Daren Callow).

And what style of music would you say it is?

Charlie: I would say country rock with a bit of a pop folky edge; its quite eclectic really as I have a bit of a classical background and I’m massively into country and americano. Darens into his old school classics like The Police but also electronica like Depeche Mode. So its an interesting blend when we’re together.

Well the first things that kind of hit you was that there was loads of people and it was a real kind of community vibe


So when you were at Soup what did you think of it, what struck you the most?

Charlie: Well the first thing that kind of hits you was that there was loads of people and it was a real kind of community vibe. I mean when we play we’re used to playing in places where people don’t necessarily listen and it doesn’t really bother us. Here; after the first song we thought to ourselves people are listening that’s really nice, after the second and third and people were still tuned in it was brilliant, haha such a novelty it felt fantastic. We really kind of connected to the audience; its such a unique concept as a public event one we’ve certainly never come across before. It was a really great night.

Do you think you’d come and play again?

Charlie: Well we did say we’d love to do it again but to be honest even just to come along and get involved as a bystander would be great.

Charlie, to round things off I have to ask this question, our readers must expect it by now, if you could be any soup what would you be? 1621775_589713117769841_283394068_n.jpg

Charlie: I feel like I want to say something exciting hah but you know what, my favourite is potato and leek, oh you know maybe I’ll say spicy chocolate with a dash of mint!

That’s almost a desert more than a soup! 

Well thank you Charlie from Dare to be Charlie.

You can check out Charlie’s facebook page, hear some tracks and find out where she’s playing next.

And if you’re thinking of performing at BrightonSoup or simply just want to find out more, then head over to; we’d love to see you there!

BrightonSoup is on the radio again tomorrow, for our fortnightly show Under The Influence in partnership with Mike Willis, so check it out, 1 – 3pm on 1BrightonFM.

That’s all from me this entry but have a great week everyone and don’t forget to stay hearty Brighton!

Chris (leek and potato)

Team Soup

Interview with a Soup-er Family

Salutations once again Soupateers!

It’s been a few weeks now since we took it to the Bridge and what an event it was! Whilst there I had the pleasure of speaking to Saffron and her two boys, Liam (16) and Dylan (14), who we noticed have been attending Soup events since the very beginning. I sat down to ask them how they first got involved and what kept them coming back for seconds…

So I take it you’ve been to nearly every event; amazing, how did you first find Soup?

Saffron: So I’d seen a short TV piece on Detroit soup, which was probably about two or three years ago, and thought that would be something really enjoyable and really good to participate in. From that I think Facebook started to show me Soup related bits and this event popped up. I thought to myself “I wonder if that’s anything like the Detroit Soup” and after looking into it saw that it looked the same – that would be really good to go. The first one we went to was in Portslade; we actually live in Worthing, so obviously not that far and I just said to the boys lets give this thing a go, get some soup – they do like to eat you see.

So have you chaps been to every Soup as well?

Liam: I think we’ve each missed one or two you know when we’ve been away or, various reasons like that but every opportunity that its on and we’re free, we’ll come along.

What would you say you enjoyed most about it?

Liam: Well I think first of all its great to see the difference in the amount of people attending then to now; I mean the first event I went to had maybe 30-50 people there whereas now we’re seeing 100 plus so its nice to see how its growing. Really though we like hearing the pitches; its a really great environment as all the local projects come and pitch for their ideas and its nice to know that when you make your vote its going to make a real difference to that community. Of course we’re also quite passionate about food; we enjoy eating it, *haha* and Dylan enjoys cooking.

Saffron: I think as well you could all too easily pick up a leaflet and read something about events like these or you could watch something on Facebook or Twitter and think “oh yeah that’s good” but when you are listening with the pitchers in front of you and you know that whole room is actively listening to the same person at the same time it means a lot more. Especially when you know you have to make a choice; “Where’s my £5 going to go towards?”, “Who’s the one that I really want to support?”. Lots of times I think it’s a really tough decision when you wish you could give your money to all of them. It’s just a really nice environment to be in; I mean, I bring along my sister-in-law now and my mums come a few times; but even if you came alone you can talk so easily to the people at the tables with an immediate topic to talk about – “Who are you going to vote for?”, “Which did you like best?” even “How’s your soup?”.

Being a budding chef Dylan, do you think you’ll ever make a soup for Soup?
Bit of a loaded question I know!

Dylan: Well you know I hadn’t thought about it like that *haha*, but it would be a nice thing to do to help out and support for sure. Like everyone said I just love coming along and being here, hearing the great pitchers and being a part of the communities.

“We don’t have a lot of access to things like this either because of time or opportunity so everything about it just feels right”


So you told us how you first found Soup but brings you back time and time again?

Saffron: Some of it is the little rituals you create you know; for example we’ve all got our different ways of voting; its quite funny really, someone always prefers to vote just as the last persons finished talking, some like to keep it secret and others get upset when their vote never gets the win!

Liam: We always inevitably get to talking about who voted for who just to make sure we didn’t all vote for someone different so it cancels each other out.

Saffron: But I think we come because we don’t have a lot of access to things like this either because of time or opportunity so everything about it just feels right. I think the team make it too; they’re all so friendly and professional without being over professional you know.

Liam: Yeah, we’ve never gone to a BrightonSoup and thought “Oh that one wasn’t very good, shall we go next time or not?”, its sort of like every time you expect it to be good it is good and you get home and you see when the next one is and plan ahead; we’ve never considered not coming or skipping one.

Is there anything you’d say you take away from it all, still, having been so many times?

Saffron: You know, I think sometimes we forget how privileged our lives are and you can live what you think is a very normal life tucked away from what’s happening in the rest of the world, even what’s going on in your own back garden. So something like this to bring it home and show you how lucky you are but also what you can give back with these things people are doing, it could be a choice for you in your life and open up your eyes to it. We can all do more than we do.

Very true indeed. Now a very silly question to end, Saffron; if you could be any soup what soup would you be?

Saffron: Minestrone I think, variety, a good bit of everything. Yeah minestrone.

Great classic choice, brilliant stuff;
thank you Saffron, Liam and Dylan. 


Great to hear about our soup events from a different perspective. If you have an interesting take on our events or have a soup story you want to share then get in touch here. We’d love to hear you.

That’s all from me for now, but have a great week and don’t forget to stay hearty Brighton!

(Leek & Potato)

Team Soup

An Interview with WOFFF – Nuala O’Sullivan

Salutations Soupateers!

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking with one of Brighton Soups past projects; Nuala O’Sullivan, founder of WOFFF – Women’s Over Fifty Film Festival, now in its second year. I wanted to find out how her experience with BrightonSoup had been and to learn a little more about her exciting Brighton Film Festival…

So tell me Nuala, how did you discover BrightonSoup?

I was introduced to London Soup by a friend of mine who knew I was starting up WOFFF, so I submitted an application even though I was pushing it; you know being a Brighton based film festival although I live in London. A year or so later I came across BrightonSoup and got in contact and it seemed like a much better fit and I got further than I did with the London application. I met Will and Karin and as soon as I did I thought “OK this is something I want to be involved with”.

I totally agree with you there, and what would you say inspired you to pitch?

Yes, again I have to put it back to Will and Karin; they made it clear that from the minute you get involved with BrightonSoup you’re one of the family. The biggest attraction to me was when they said you would get pitch training; because I think it’s really hard to sum #2016-07-01-191545-#3023-RBOLLup succinctly well and engagingly, what you’re about. I mean I certainly don’t have any trouble talking, I can talk the hind legs off a donkey and that’s fine sometimes, but other times less is more. So even when you imagine the worst case scenario where you make your pitch and you might not win on the night you still come away having had the training, so I could not see a downside.

Well quite, pitch training can be instrumental to a number of other opportunities right?

Yes exactly, and you know that’s the other thing; everything that happened at BrightonSoup was not contained within BrightonSoup. I mean its a life skill really; it’s all about connections.

Once the soup comes out everyone starts talking and that’s when it gets really exciting


What kind of connections did you make?

So we got tonnes of stuff; I mean we told a room full of people about our festival and got a lot of interest, people signed up to our monthly newsletter so now they’re part of our family, some even signed up as volunteers which we desperately needed.


And what about with the other projects; did you make any connections there?

You may remember our night was a very exciting night actually, as the overall donations pot was already sitting at around the £300 mark and then more and more kept getting added until we reached about £1,200 at the end. Ali from Free University Brighton had said, and I must stress this was before the results even got announced, that we should split the money four ways amongst all the projects. Lo and behold Free Uni Brighton came up and we had all said don’t be daft as we were already getting a share in £300 of that £1,200 total but she wouldn’t hear it. So in the end everybody that night got £300 which is kind of what everyone was wishing for. I mean I was happy already just with the pitch training, getting to speak to a room full of people and get those volunteers, but to walk away with £300 was truly amazing.

I think it really is wonderful, its got a sort of Dragons Den format but its really all about recognising your neighbours which we don’t do enough of.

Well yes, but that’s the thing, if it really was a Dragons Den I would get up, pitch and then somebody would ask me a few questions and then that would be the end of it. But the magical bit of this happens after that when you go round the room and talk to people; I mean the pitch can be a bit of a lecture situation but once the soup comes out everyone starts talking and that’s when it gets really exciting.

Its a very infectious atmosphere! Now I wanted to ask you more about WOFFF; I gather you have a festival coming up in October, can you tell us a little about that?

So Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of October we’re going to be showcasing 44 short films, an all female panel event and a workshop all within the BMECP (Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership) building situated just 5 minutes from Brighton station, so really central. The 44 films were chosen from over 100 submissions and the premise of WOFFF is that each short film must either have a woman over 50 at the heart of the piece on screen; they must really be driving the action, or have a woman behind the camera in one of the core roles of writer, director or producer. So what that means is that its a really open medium; you as a young man could make a movie with a story centred around an older woman or indeed that older woman could make a documentary about you for example.

And what kind of submissions have you had?

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-11-39-19These films have come from all around the world too from places as far away as New Zealand, Bangladesh, Canada, Hong Kong, Nigeria just to name a few, and we created four categories: drama, documentary, animation and experimental. So within those genres we have films about flying dinosaurs, films about dancing, topics like life after death and in one, some talking furniture.

I’m sure I’ve seen that one before… Certainly something for everyone! It really does emphasise the point I think you’re making here that its all about giving those women over 50 a chance.

Exactly, women over 50 in the film industry are really poorly represented and under appreciated as both film makers and film protagonists. The reason I started WOFFF was because I wrote a short film myself and entered it into a lot of film festivals before anyone took any notice of it. I had always had a keen interest in film festivals and after entering a piece I started to view them in a different light and noticed that a lot of the people who ran and entered these festivals were younger men; after doing a bit of digging I found that there was only one that actually focused on the work of older women, held in Japan. It’s called the Senior Women’s Film Festival. I got in contact with them and it turned out that the woman who run it was previously a student here at Brighton university, such a small world; so naturally we like to think of ourselves as sister festivals.

Wow, that’s amazing! Now I’m sorry to say but I have to wrap things up but I’d like to ask you one last question; if you could be any soup, what soup would you be?

I think I would be something like borscht; quite small and sturdy, hearty yes. Definitely borscht, haha.

An excellent choice; thank you Nuala. 


They say that good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living, well I say it seems that a good BrightonSoup certainly makes all the difference.

Now if you want to attend the upcoming WOFFF festival on the 1st and 2nd of October details can be found at and tickets can be bought from You can also follow them on twitter @WO50FF, FaceBook Instagram.

Of course the next BrightonSoup event is soon upon us coming this Friday on the 23rd of September at The Bridge in Moulscoomb! So see you there!

Well that’s all from me this entry, hope you;re having a great week everyone and don’t forget to stay hearty Brighton!

(Leek & Potato)

Team Soup



Souperstar: Sam Redfern, Crime Fighting TV Food Chef….

Sam originally got in touch with us back in Sept last year offering to make us soup, but our event dates kept clashing. Finally the stars lines up and he was able to join us at our last event at Community Base in February – and he brought along a delicious Tuscan Bean Soup that was very popular. Currently volunteering for The Real Junk Food Project Brighton and raising his lovely daughter, we wanted to know more about the mysterious crime analyst/TV food chef…

2016-02-19-204407-#TwitterLike many of our chefs, you moved to Brighton relatively recently.

I moved here with my wife and daughter 3 years ago from Cheltenham. Before that we were in London for 16 years. Who wouldn’t move here? For someone who loves food and drink, Brighton is phenomenal with so many restaurants to choose from. I’ll eat anything but mustard, gin or coffee.  

Mustard I get, but gin and coffee? When you say you will eat anything….?

I’ve eaten but maybe not enjoyed scorpions and crickets.

Uh, nice. So, how did you get into cooking?

My mum taught me to cook when I was younger and though I’m not professionally trained,  I started out working in Terence Conrans’ delicatessen in London and the ethos there was to be proficient in every aspect of the deli, which included food preparation. My career took a big shift into working as a crime analyst in London for nearly 10 years but food has always been my main love. When we moved to Cheltenham, I had more time to focus on food, setting up pop food events.

I heard a rumour you had a foray into TV? Tell me more…..

Working in Conrans’ deli fired up my love for food and I started experimenting with recipes and I think it gave me the confidence to apply for MasterChef. I was on MasterChef in 1999 when Lloyd Grossman presented the show. It was a great experience and 12573125_10154009669375466_8581972428587102627_na very different format to how it is now. I must have caught the competition bug because I put my trifle on Britain’s Best Dish a few years later! Co-incidentally, there was a film production company opposite the deli I worked at and they asked me to play ‘Sam the Grocer’ on a kids TV cookery program called Food Factory.

Crime, food and showbiz – brilliant! How did you get involved with Brighton Soup?

I started volunteering with the The Real Junk Food Project Brighton a while ago, and we linked up through food community projects and I also do other charity events. I do a pop up restaurant once a year to raise money for a brilliant charity called Winston’s Wish, the charity for bereaved children

Just like Brighton Soup, food, family and community seem to be a central theme in your life.

BSoup-Contributor-Sam-RedfernI’d agree with that. When my daughter was born, I made a book from all of the recipes I’d collected over the years and which are important to me and I’ve often returned to them for inspiration.  It was this sense of community and family that really struck a chord with me when I came to the event in February. It’s really family orientated and warm and actually quite emotional. It is about a community coming together with food, ready to listen to great ideas to make that community better.

Sam will be putting on another of his great pop up events in the near future and we’ll keep you posted so you can go along.

In the meantime, if you want to taste what Sam’s cooking up for our next event then join us @ The Crypt on the 29th April. And if that isn’t enough of a contribution he’s also put in a fantastic prize for our raffle. Sam will come to your house with a bottle of wine and cook dinner for 4 people – and you get to choose the style (French, Italian, Mexican, etc). Raffle tickets are a £1. 🙂

Not long now, don’t forget to get a ticket.

Team Soup