One of the best things about working at a University is that I get to work with some of the best colleagues – not only are they excellent GIS professionals, but they are also really good cooks.
Today we held our Third Annual Soupapalooza soup cook off at the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative. It is a really big deal, and I just got an advanced copy of a New York Times writeup of the event:
From Worst to First: Mello Claims Soupapalooza Prize
Salisbury, MD. In a surprise turnaround, Ryan Mello finally slayed the
ghosts of Soupapalooza II that haunted him all year. After a disastrous last place finish in 2014, Mello picked up the pieces of what he considered his greatest failure to turn 2015 into his greatest victory. Mello’s 13 points in voting provided a narrow victory over his other competitors, allowing him to be the third person in three years to hoist the coveted Cup of Grandeur.
Mello’s Lasagna soup narrowly beat out Mary Buffington’s Kale, White Bean, and Sausage soup by a single vote. Third place went to Art Lembo’s Straight Outta Compton Sweet Potato soup. While Mello was thrilled with the victory, not everyone was as conciliatory.
First year winner Brett Dobelstein stood shocked in silence. Although many have claimed his Blended Baby Angel soup from the first year might be the best soup ever consumed at the ESRGC, his French Onion soup fell short of the judges palette. Erin Silva, who brought a delicious chili lamented: I don’t think that Brett ever got over the fact that last year while trying to defend his championship, he took a turn too fast in his car and spilled most of his turkey-rice soup on the front seat of his car.
Mello, basking in his victory showed no such sympathy. Look, things happen, Mello said, if you are going to compete, you have to leave that stuff behind. Obviously, Brett was not able to overcome it.
Lembo added to the controversy by seeming to imply that Mello only won because of a sympathy vote due to last year’s last place finish. Look, he failed last year. Plain and simple. I bet 3 or 4 of his points were just out of sympathy. Lembo also had words for Buffington, adding her soup wasn’t as good as mine, I should have won. He also spared no goodwill on Silva saying c’mon. She made chili. This is Soupapalooza – not chilipalooza. She should have been disqualified.
Michael Scott, Director of the ESRGC was saddened by the turn of events.
Scott lamented, what started out as a friendly birthday dinner for Lembo three years ago has turned into the most ugly of cutthroat competitions. Nonetheless, Scott had no plans to address the issue saying have you tasted the soups? There ain’t no way I’m gonna mess with that.
Although he came in last place, Logan Hall’s Potato Soup was well liked, and everyone seemed to spend more time devouring his thickly sliced bacon that accompanied the soup.
As the contestants went back to work, talk was already stirring about next year’s competition – what was done wrong this year, and how things might be changed for next year.
Editors note: it was discovered later that Lembo’s wife Karen actually made the Straight Outta Compton Sweet Potato soup, thus disqualifying him from competition. Therefore, Erin Silva moved into third place.
In response to these events, the ordinarily ever delightful Buffington showed a darker side, saying: Are you @#$%^% kidding me!!! That &^%$#$%^^& cost me the championship! During the voting I came in second to Lembo on at least two occasions. That $@%^& cost me two first place votes!! I’m filing a protest! With Lembo out of the rankings, I should get the extra points. Buffington vowed to press on, though whether she would talk to Lembo or Mello again was uncertain.
Meanwhile, Erin Silva simply kept doing her work, seemingly living above it all….