'I believe in giving back': Celebrity chef cooks up signature dish for Penticton's Soupateria

'I believe in giving back'

A celebrity chef was cooking up his delicious signature soup Thursday morning at Penticton's Soupateria, looking to give back to the community.

Chef Victoire Bongo, the man behind Bongo Hospitality and previous local endeavours Bongo Bistro, Bongo Supper Club and Bongo BBQ at wineries on the bench and in Naramata, was dishing out his African peanut soup.

Bongo, on behalf of his Bongo Foundation, donated his time to serving up the dish to to anyone in need and hungry, alongside the Soupateria team.

"I believe in giving back, I believe in helping those less fortunate because I came from Africa and I had nothing. There was people that came into our parents' house [to] drop food bags for us to have food. So as I grew up to being a well known chef, what makes me happy is giving back to others," he said.

"People here are helping other people. 10 years ago, 15 years ago, they were probably in the same situation. They got better and are now helping people, and this is how the world should go on. We're just trying to make the world a better place. I always say one meal at a time, we're going to save the world."

Bongo's foundation also runs in Congo and helps out 40 kids.

"I've been also doing the same thing, feeding them for the last 12 years. And now I'm actually building a cooking school for them, so they can have the knowledge to cook and get jobs and help others," Bongo added.

Bongo is also helping out by making batches of soup to be enjoyed at home, as a fundraiser for the Soupateria.

The Bongo Foundation will donate $1 per packaged soup sold in the Okanagan to the Soupateria, alongside donating the ingredients required for this endeavour.

"I always say when you make a soup or anything you gotta make from the heart. You gotta make it with love. You gotta be happy while you're making it," Bongo said.

"Soup can be whatever you have available, whatever's on sale, and whatever is fresh and whatever is is season. And if you take all this together and you add that love, you're gonna have the best flavour."

The volunteer-run Penticton Soupateria offers lunch for free 365 days a year, no questions asked. For more information on the Soupateria and its charitable work in the Penticton community, click here.

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