Ones to Watch | By Sabrina Davis
Just a sip of the hot, rich liquid awakens her senses. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have it. It just makes me feel complete and makes my day better,” she says. Marjorie Druker isn’t talking about a daily cup of coffee. She’s describing her craving for her own chicken vegetable soup. She serves it daily at New England Soup Factory, the concept she founded and owns with her husband, Paul Brophy.
New England Soup Factory now operates two company stores and one franchise in the Boston area. Druker and Brophy are looking for a partner before expanding any further. “I want to be a national brand, but I don’t want the quality to be diminished,” Druker says. “Quality is what brings my customers back again and again.”
Druker’s enthusiasm isn’t as much about soup as it’s about people, flavors, and quality. Soup was just the best vehicle to help Druker and Brophy, both Johnson & Wales University graduates, bring those passions together.
Druker estimates she uses 400 to 500 pounds of freshly cut produce each day for her soups. Every item on her menu is made from scratch using some of the recipes that will be published in The New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation’s Best Purveyor of Fine Soup. The book is slated to be released in September 2007.
“We make eight to 10 soups a day and 40 gallons of each at a time,” Druker says. “We deal in large quantities, but we never diminish our quality. We make the stocks overnight so we have fresh, rich stocks to work with every morning.”
The seasons guide Druker’s menu. In spring and summer, compositions are lighter and chilled soups like Pineapple and Yellow Tomato Gazpacho, Sweet Potato Vichysoise, and White Peach Soup with Ginger are featured. Autumn varieties include Pumpkin and Crab Bisque, Sweet Potato Corn Chowder, and Butternut Apple and Sage among others. The popular Fallwich, made with cranberry mustard, mesclun greens, roasted turkey, sweet potatoes, and cashews is another fall favorite. Winter is the busiest season. That’s when Druker sells gallons of her chicken soup. “The worse the weather, the busier we are,” she says.