Bistro has a recipe for help­ing the home­less

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pamela McLough­lin

MIL­FORD — The owner of a lo­cal bistro that spe­cial­izes in soup is hold­ing a fundraiser Satur­day and call­ing it “Soups for Com­pas­sion,” be­cause to him, soups and com­pas­sion are sim­i­lar, as they both in­volve recipes and love.

“Com­pas­sion is kind of a recipe of strong emo­tions like love, hope, em­pa­thy, hu­man­ity,” said Gary Caulfield, co-owner of Bo­bette’s Take-Out Bistro. “Soup is a blend­ing of in­gre­di­ents, but it’s more than just a food. Soup is love.”

Caulfield said he de­cided to have the fundraiser for Beth El Cen­ter as a way of “pay­ing it for­ward” af­ter be­ing cho­sen by Con­necti­cut Mag­a­zine this year as hav­ing the best soup in the state.

All prof­its from the many types of soup sold Satur­day will go to the cen­ter, which serves the home­less and hun­gry. The bistro is lo­cated at 93 Bos­ton Post Road.

He said cus­tomers of­ten or­der soup for oth­ers and bring it to them as a

warm ges­ture or even to soothe an ill­ness.

Caulfield and his girl­friend, Bo­bette Moore — the master soup cre­ator — held a month-long fundraiser for the cen­ter in Fe­bru­ary us­ing their but­ter­nut squash bisque, but this one is a bonus and Beth El Cen­ter Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Toni Dolan said it’s “greatly ap­pre­ci­ated.”

She, too, sees ex­tra mean­ing in the soup.

“The con­nec­tion be­tween Bo­bette’s hearty soup and our mis­sion to end hunger and home­less­ness is in­ter­wo­ven in such a special way . ... Not only are their cus­tomers buy­ing delicious, nour­ish­ing soup, but they, in turn, are pro­vid­ing phys­i­cal, men­tal and spir­i­tual nour­ish­ment to strug­gling in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in Mil­ford,” Dolan said.

Caulfield said the idea for the ex­tra fundraiser came up when Bo­bette’s re­ceived the Con­necti­cut Mag­a­zine dis­tinc­tion. “It seems like the right thing to do right be­fore Thanks­giv­ing,” Caulfield said.

The re­view in Con­necti­cut Mag­a­zine says, in part, “The soup at Bo­bette’s has per­son­al­ity.”

The cou­ple, in business for 29 years, serve sand­wiches, pani­nis and sal­ads, but soup is what makes it a des­ti­na­tion eatery, as they of­fer about 10 dif­fer­ent soups each day.

Caulfield said they made soup the cen­ter­piece when they opened the business be­cause most peo­ple back then only knew soup out of a can.

The cou­ple quickly adopted the view that they could “make any din­ner into a soup,” and through the years, aside from sta­ples such as chicken orzo, spit pea and beef bar­ley, have served lasagna soup, stuffed pepper soup, chicken pot pie soup and even a BLT soup that Caulfield quips may have been “go­ing too far.”

More than a decade ago, they be­gan of­fer­ing the but­ter­nut squash soup in Fe­bru­ary to ben­e­fit the shel­ter. Caulfield said it be­gan af­ter he ap­proached then-Mayor James Richetelli look­ing for ways he and Bo­bette could give back to the com­mu­nity.

The mayor told them Beth El was a cause close to his heart and re­ferred them to Dolan, who em­braced the but­ter­nut squash soup idea.

So many peo­ple have asked for their recipes that the pair have an e-cook­book, “The Bo­bette One Pot Soup Method,” that can be or­dered on Ama­zon for $4.95.

Although the bistro has a strong lo­cal fol­low­ing and lunch crowd — they de­liver — Caulfield said they also get li­cense plates from all over the coun­try be­cause trav­el­ers get off the high­way to visit af­ter read­ing their re­views on Yelp.

They will also sell “Soups for Com­pas­sion” T-shirts Satur­day with the event’s logo fea­tur­ing a pair of hands hold­ing a steam­ing bowl of soup.

Pam McLough­lin / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Gary Caulfield, the owner of Bo­bette’s Take-Out Bistro, a Mil­ford restau­rant that spe­cial­izes in soup, is hold­ing a fundraiser Satur­day and call­ing it “Soups for Com­pas­sion,” be­cause to him, soups and com­pas­sion are sim­i­lar, as they both in­volve recipes and love.

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