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The Soup Nazi of the old Seinfeld series earned his place in history as the guy who made incredible soup he would sell only to customers he considered worthy. Like the Soup Nazi, Julie Shipley concocts amazing soups, but that's where the resemblance ends, since, fortunately for us, she considerseveryone worthy.

The affable Shipley is as warm as the 40 varieties of soup she cooks in her little commercial kitchen near the King Center for the Arts in Melbourne. After years selling to restaurants (sorry, but she won’t divulge the names), she has added retail sales, including mail order.

“Folks figured out we were making their favorite soups, and they asked me to sell it to them,” Shipley said.


Question:How did you get into the soup business, Julie?

Shipley: I’m a Texas girl. In 2001, we moved here. My husband is a pilot with Southwest, based in Orlando.

I have a tech degree, but cooking has always been my passion. One day at the gym I met Denise (Mansour Holshey), who owns the Snack Shack Cafes inside the Pro-Health and Fitness Centers. She asked me to provide her with the soups for her cafés, and from there the business took off.


Q:Family?

Shipley: My husband and I have a son, Ross. He’s a freshman at Holy Trinity, and he often helps at the store after school.


Q:Signature soup?

Shipley: My chicken enchilada. It’s thick and creamy and has a really nice flavor to it. The spicy chicken with veggies is also very popular. It’s pretty, it’s healthy and has a lot of flavor.

I think all my soups go over well. I’ve had Cuban people tell me how much they liked my black bean with ham soup. I make it from scratch. That’s the secret. People who don’t even like cabbage tell me they like my stuffed cabbage soup.


Q:Where do you get the recipes?

Shipley: Some started as family recipes. Most were from trial and error.


Q:What makes the soups special?

Shipley: I cook them in the way I would if I had the time to do them for myself. I shop locally. I use no preservatives. I think people are looking for that type of fresh food. We usually have a complete inventory in our freezer, plus a large variety of fresh soups on hand. If there is something special customers want, they can call ahead of time and we’ll make sure they get it.


Q:What’s in the future for you?

Shipley: I’d like to see an expansion of our retail store in the next year. I think there’s a certain amount of allure for customers to be able to see the kitchen.


Q:What can’t you live without in the kitchen?

Shipley: My Robot Coupe. It’s a French food processor.


Q: Celebrity you’d like to see eating your soup?

Shipley: Emeril

Know of a chef or restaurant we should feature? Email Maria Sonnenberg at toastofthecoast@cfl.rr.com.

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