← Go to Epicurious.com

Community Table from Epicurious

from Epicurious

Take your place at the table

This post appears in the Personal Touches in the Kitchen challenge.

Smokey Pumpkin Soup | LocalSavour.com

Smokey Pumpkin Soup ~ Over the years I have worked (and dined) in a LOT of restaurants and one of the greatest things I learned, by being in the industry, was going above and beyond the guests expectations. This was true in no matter what the style of restaurant was –– from bistro to fine dining. This was a way to connect with people and to create a memorable experience. You can have all of the fancy food in the world or be serving the best burger but if you are not willing to go the extra mile for a guest (within reason of course) the experience won’t be the same and they might not want to come back.
They say that for every great experience we have we might share it with one or two friends but for every bad experience we have we will tell as many people as we can.

Years ago, I dined at a very top notch restaurant in Chicago. I was in the industry and it was considered a tight knit group of folks that took care of each other when dining at each others establishments. I love to eat, I’m adventurous and I don’t have any food restrictions or allergies so I consider myself a fairly laid-back guest. The food was unbelievable and probably to this day one of THE best meals I’ve ever had but, for me what really made the experience so memorable was the service and the attention to detail. The extra mile. I never needed for anything and not just because they happen to know me but, because it was the type of crew that knew how to do things right. Spoons were always at the ready, chairs were pulled when sitting/standing, drinks were always fresh. Good service is that what goes on almost unnoticed until you realize it was such a big component as to why your experience was so memorable. This is something that has had a huge influence on me that I try to bring to my own table –– even on the most hectic of nights.

As a foodie and a restaurant supporter I love to hear the behind-the-scenes nitty gritty of the industry and what is influencing today’s food culture. From what’s working to what’s not to what makes for a great experience and what doesn’t. One of my new go-to places to keep in the loop for these things is on the Out of the Kitchen series from Bon Appétit –– have you seen it? It’s a fun, fresh and in-the-know approach to modern kitchens and dining. These stories remind me of the time when I used to have leisurely meals and enjoy the nuances of great service and they bring a new perspective to my own table and the dinner conversation.

When I was a kid part of my nightly duties were to set the dinner table. This is something that I have now passed onto my own children. It is their job to find out each night what we are having for dinner and then evaluate to see what is need on the table (i.e.. napkins, forks, spoons, salt) so we aren’t having to get up 20 times during the meal. It might seem like such a little thing but going that simple “extra mile” or attention to the details makes mealtime our favorite family time. We can just sit, talk about our days and enjoy our meal together without having to get up twenty times –– and I can tell silly restaurant stories from days of old.

After all of the thanksgiving eats we had last week … soup was in order so I made a quick and easy Smokey Pumpkin Soup –– smooth and creamy pumpkin twinkled with a little smokey paprika. Serve this as an appetizer or a main dish but whatever you do … don’t forget the spoon.

Smokey Pumpkin Soup | LocalSavour.com

Top with a few pumpkin seeds and a little sour cream.

Setting the Table |LocalSavour.com

My youngest learning where the forks go on the table. Setting the Table |LocalSavour.com

My boys working together to set the kitchen table.

What are some of the things that you have learned from dinning out that you like to bring to your own dinner table?

Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen”, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.

Smokey Pumpkin Soup
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time
  • 115 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 4cups vegetable broth
  • 1cup applesauce unsweetened
  • 2Tablespoons buttersoftened
  • 1Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2teaspoons onion powder
  • 2leaves large bay
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place pumpkin, 2 cups vegetable broth, apple sauce, butter, paprika, and onion powder into a blender. Blend or mix on high speed for 2-3 minutes or until is starts to become thick and creamy - slowly continue to add vegetable broth, one 1/4 cup at a time, until you reach the desired consistency of your soup.
  2. Place soup into a medium pan over low heat, add bay leaves and cook for 10-15 minutes on low.
  3. Remove bay leaves. Finish soup with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with herbs, sour cream, pumpkin seeds or apple slices. Serve with warm crusty bread. Serve hot or store for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Freezes well.

**This post is sponsored by and partnered with Tidal and the Epicurious Community Table.  All thoughts, words and images are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support Local Savour.**

Read the original on: LocalSavour

LocalSavour, elizabeth van huffel

› See my posts

› Visit my blog

A seasonal, farmers market inspired, family friendly recipe website.