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Chicken stock v. Vegetable stock...

A baby shower for a Darling Daughter is imminent.

The restaurant hosting the shower has offered a menu that includes a sublime Tomato Basil soup. Problem is, the base for this soup is derived from chicken stock and therefore is off limits for a number of Vegans and a few Vegeterians who will attend.

Dear wife spoke to the chef owner of the restaurant asking him to substitute vegetable stock in place of chicken stock for this assembly. He agreed to do that with a caveat: "The soup won't be MY Tomato Basil."

Seeking advice from Chowhounds on taste variation that will/may occur if chef moves ahead to grant this request. Thanks all.

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  1. his response indicates that he really doesn't want to do it.

    It *will* change the flavor...however, if they're vegetarian/vegan they likely won't have tasted the original, either.

    If you go forward with it, he's also (only sort-of) subtly telling you that he'll entertain no complaints from those familiar with *his* recipe.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      "...If you go forward with it, he's also (only sort-of) subtly telling you that he'll entertain no complaints from those familiar with *his* recipe."

      As far as I know, my daughter and my wife will be the only ones in attendance that have tasted his Tomato Basil. Neither of them will complain.

      I guess what I'm asking is, will the taste, texture, mouth feel be "off" from a traditional Tomato Basil soup?

      1. re: RedTop

        Mouthfeel a little different, but really, don't worry. a lot depends on the veggie stock used, but it should be fine. I cook soups with veggie stock all the time if it is what I have.

        1. re: RedTop

          they'll all be different than what you know as *his* recipe -- without the fat or the collagen from the connective tissue and bones of the chicken, it will have less of that silky-smooth mouthfeel, and will be more "watery" in texture.

          Taste will also likely be lighter...depends on how well he uses olive oil, etc -- but it will change the flavor.

          1. re: sunshine842

            It might change the flavor a little, but the chef should still be able to make this a very tasty soup.... if he can't do that, he's not very inventive imho.

          2. re: RedTop

            I guess what I'm asking is, will the taste, texture, mouth feel be "off" from a traditional Tomato Basil soup?
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Without knowing the rest of the ingredients and preparation method, it's hard to predict the possible differences, but yes, the short answer is that it will be different. Noticeably different. The flavor certainly, the mouthfeel, probably. The texture - in the sense of smooth, chunky, thick, thin, etc. - shouldn't change much if at all.

            But if by "off" you mean something other than "noticeably different", then that's purely subjective - there's no way to say whether a veg base would taste "better or worse", but it will not be the same "sublime" version you already know and love. If there's dairy in the house version that also has to go, that will also noticeably change the soup's flavor and mouthfeel.

            1. re: MikeG

              Thank you, Mike.

              Thinking that maybe we shouldn't impose this sanction on Chef. Even tho' he's willing...

              1. re: RedTop

                Maybe he has another soup that he thinks he can "veg-ify" with better results? Or maybe one that you don't like quite as much so you'll be less disappointed when it tastes different? ;)

                1. re: MikeG

                  Oddly enough, the only soup he serves is Tomato Basil! Good thought tho'. Thanks, Mike for the suggestion

        2. You know the answer to this. It'll taste different but if you're going to accomodate all your guest that's just something you need to live with. You're other option is to ask the chef to prepare both options and be prepared to meet any extra cost.

          3 Replies
          1. re: stilldontknow

            "...You know the answer to this."

            As a matter of fact, I do not. I have six soups in my home cooking rotation during winter months, and prepping all six I've only used vegetable stock. So, I wouldn't have any experience taste or texture, or mouth feel-wise. That's why I asked the question.

            "...You're other option is to ask the chef to prepare both options and be prepared to meet any extra cost."

            The chef owner will be serving other diners in his restaurant while the baby shower is held. He will serve HIS Tomato Basil to these guests. He did not say anything about an extra charge to us for the modification in the soup base. I would guess he's not a Prima Donna.

            1. re: RedTop

              Sorry but if he has to prepare what is essentially another dish to meet your requirements then he may not have said anything about an extra charge but he is incurring an extra cost. Might not be huge but it's there. Chef has already told you it wont be HIS soup which is about as clear an indication as he can give that's not going to be the dish you're familiar with.

          2. The name of the dish is Tomato Basil soup, not Chicken Tomato Basil soup. If this guy is a good cook, it should be a cinch. Let me know he can rename the soup "Red Top's Tomato Basil Soup" if that will make him happy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: escondido123

              Chicken stock is often used in a soup without including it in the name. If 'chicken' is in the name, patrons are likely to expect pieces of chicken in the soup.

              1. re: paulj

                Yes. Same if it were another animal-based stock. Mushroom barley soup is customarily made with beef stock, for example. French onion soup likewise. I would never assume "tomato basil soup" was vegetarian unless it was clearly labeled as such.

                Now, potato-leek soups are not necessarily based on a meat stock in the tradition (they were often Lenten fare). I myself like porcini & shallots for vegeterian stocks, instead of a traditional mirepoix.

            2. He may have a tried and true chicken stock that perfectly suits the soup; he may not have such a vegetable stock. Vegetables stocks can be trickier to balance that meat-based stocks (too many recipes have too much carrot, for example); they can be among the harshest of stocks unless a chef has really done his due diligence (and I don't think he's agreed to do that here). It will be more watery. It will be different. Vegetables and chicken are no less fungible for flavor and texture than they are for moral eating reasons.

              I would make another choice.