There is an Old Spanish saying, “Between soup and love, the first is better.” That translation is certainly open for debate, but there seems to be no debate about the quality of soups being prepared daily at Tent City Restaurant.
Each day chef Kasey Chapman arrives before the sun to prepare a special, homemade soup for his customers. Certainly, the most heard question at Tent City Restaurant is, “What’s the soup today?”
Chapman is an unlikely candidate to be on the receiving end of such culinary praise. The 29-year-old former Coronado student admits he would rather be playing with his 7-year-old daughter than cooking at such an early hour, and yet, those who know him realize how seriously he takes his profession as a culinary chef.
Moving through a small kitchen among numerous assistants, Chapman demonstrates an uncanny fluidity and economy of motion. As he moves from cutting board to food bins to the oven, he rarely pauses, he is never unsure of what he is doing. He is focused beyond distraction and is precise in his execution whether it be preparing exotic soups or portioning large slabs of steak and fish.
“I never thought I would enjoy working with food as much as I do,” Chapman said. “I originally thought waiting tables and playing music would be my strong suit (he is drummer in a local band), but the more time I spent in restaurants the more I began to gravitate towards the kitchen.”
Among the special soups offered daily at Tent City Restaurant are butternut squash, cream of mushroom (with chicken and rice), roasted red pepper, cream of jalapeño, chipotle chicken and rice, shrimp Creole, French onion (with gruyere cheese), and a crowd favorite, crab shrimp and scallop bisque. Clam chowder and chicken tortilla are served daily.
“Everything is prepared fresh on site,” Chapman said. “That’s how we guarantee such a consistent variety of good flavor.”
Chapman is one of three siblings to parents Ron and Debi Chapman. Cooking and restaurants are a family affair for the Chapmans. His father and Uncle Rick are co-founders of the successful Coronado Brewing Company and Tent City Restaurant.
Sister Deanna and brother Kyle are managers in the family chain as well. Chapman oversees food preparation for both restaurants and manages Tent City Restaurant. Tent City’s name comes from the popular seasonal community south of the Hotel del Coronado from 1900-1939.
Chapman got his start at 14 working in his uncle’s restaurant, Café 1134. After five years he moved into the kitchen at Rhinoceros Restaurant. In 2002 his father offered him a chance to join the family business. He has been working for the Coronado Brewing Company and Tent City for nine years.
Tent City Restaurant offers creative, weekly specials for lunch, as well as nightly, grilled specials on the patio. “I’m constantly looking for unique recipes and new ways to prepare and present exciting new food dishes,” Chapman said – a true sign of a great chef.
Tent City Restaurant is located at 1100 Orange Avenue, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are open daily, and can cater large parties and banquets by reservation. Seating is inside and out. For more information or a closer look at their menu visit www.tentcityrestaurant.com or call (619) 435-4611.
Submitted by Joe Ditler of Part-time PR