Tanya’s leading a field trip for foodies

If you’ve never been inside some of Wichita’s ethnic grocery stores, you are missing out. Amazing things can be found, including inexpensive produce, Chinese to-go boxes and hot churros.

Soon, local restaurant owner Tanya Tandoc, owner of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, will be leading a field trip to some of the city’s best ethnic markets. The event, organized by Wichita State University’s Ulrich Museum, is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Tandoc will guide participants through two ethnic markets: Thai Binh Supermarket at 1530 W. 21st St. N. and Indian Emporium at 3743 N. Rock Road. The field trip will end at Food for Thought Natural Foods Market, 2929 E. Central.

The field trip is free, and transportation is provided, but you must pre-register by calling 316-978-3664 or emailing Ulrich@wichita.edu.

You can learn to cook with Tanya

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen owner Tanya Tandoc has put on many cooking classes over the years. I took one wayyyyyy back when I first moved to Wichita and she was in her old location by the Eagle. I’ll never forget that class because I learned not only about the importance of a good knife but also that the reason restaurant food tastes so good is that it’s 95 percent butter, cream and sugar. Oh well!

Tanya hasn’t been teaching much while she’s been getting her new restaurant going, but now she’s ready to get back to it. She’s launching a new series of Tuesday-night cooking classes that look delicious. Here’s a list:

Fall Soups and Stews, Oct. 30: Tomato curry, butternut squash bisque with sage croutons, and other fun recipes.
Global Street Food, Nov. 6:  Street food and snacks from around the world, including socca from Southern France, Malaysian laksa, Indian samosas, and more.
Tapas and Small Plates from Spain,  Nov. 13: Herbed potato tortilla, chile-garlic shrimp, spicy chickpeas, roasted potatoes with red pepper sauce, and more.
Italian Trattoria, Nov. 20: Carpaccio, orecchiette with sausage and fontina, Tuscan bean bruschetta, and tiramisu.
Fast French, Nov. 27:  Onion soup with croutons and Gruyere, salad of tart greens with bacon and poached egg, chicken with tarragon sauce, and spice-poached pears.
Holiday Entertaining, Dec. 4: How to prepare holiday appetizers and meals that look elegant but are easy to plan and prepare.

The classes are $45 a person and include dinner, recipes and one glass of wine. They’re demonstration-style, which means students can watch Tanya do the preparation. All classes are at Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, 1725 E. Douglas. Those interested should not call the restaurant but rather the reservation line, 316-631-5973.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and classes start at 6:30 p.m. Those who buy the whole series will get a $30 discount.

Lots of foodie fun at this weekend’s Women’s Fair

He's not a woman, but Chef Paul Freimuth knows how to cook food women like.

I like the Women’s Fair.

I’ve been going to it for years and I’m always amazed by the sheer amount of STUFF the organizers pack into Century II. There’s good shopping, live haircuts, as-seen-on-TV demos, tons of freebies (my favorite are the shampoo samples) and tons of food-related exhibitors. In past years, my friends Carrie and Joe have always done a live cooking demonstration, and the audience members nearly riot for a chance to sample the results.

Carrie and Joe can’t make it this year, but four other foodies are scheduled for demonstrations.

Chef Tanya Tandoc, owner of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, will demonstrate how to make chicken curry and other famous soups at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Chef Joe Parten of Carrabba’s will be making chicken Marsala at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Local cookbook author Andrea Cassell will show how to make roasted red pepper and Tex-Mex hummus from her cookbook “Nahima’s Hands” Unique Mediterranean Cuisine” at 5 p.m. Saturday.

And at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Hyatt Chef Paul Freimuth, the man behind the fabulous Harvest Kitchen/Bar, will teach fair-goers how to make tortelloni with tomato basil sauce.

Also, cookbook author “Kitchen Kimberly” will demonstrate Southwest potato corn chowder and savor cheddar and chive bread at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. She’ll also do a 4 p.m. Saturday demonstration of enchilada casserole with Southwest sour cream

I won’t be demonstrating any cooking, but I’ll be at the Wichita Eagle’s booth from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and will be happy to discuss anything restaurant- or food- related with you.

See the full Women’s Fair schedule here.

An ode to female chefs, few though they may be

WSU's new executive chef, Melinda Burrows.

I got notice from Wichita State University this week that they’ve recently hired a new executive chef, and she’s a she!!!

I’ve covered the restaurant scene in Wichita for more than a decade, and although we have a great community of chefs, nearly all of them are men. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

It’s always exciting to encounter a girl running the kitchen, but it’s rare around here. We’ve got Tanya Tandoc at Tanya’s Soup Kitchen. And Randa Toubia at Piccadilly. I know of a few other women chefs who pop up in kitchens here and there from time to time, but not many.

Don’t even get me started on my rant about “Top Chef,” where all the girl chefs get sent home first. (Usually.)

Wichita State’s new chef is named Melinda Burrows. She was trained in Paris and has been working in Los Angeles. She’s introducing herself and her food to the Wichita community this summer with a culinary series that will feature gourmet specials offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The series starts Wednesday and runs through July 27. Each special will cost $5.59 and will be served at Copperfield’s, the cafe in the Rhatigan Student Center. It’s open to the public.

Here’s the menu.

Two updates, as promised

Bowman, right, with Tandoc at her restaurant today.

Update No. 1

He said he would, and he did. Today, Richard Bowman and his buddies ended their restaurant quest, during which they lunched at all 48 restaurants local chef Tanya Tandoc recommended in a story we published last year. They ended the project, appropriately, at Tandoc’s new Tanya’s Soup Kitchen. Here’s the picture Richard just sent. I love the worn and highlighted newspaper clipping.

Update No. 2

Heritage Restaurant passed its inspections, owner Michael Choi said, and it’ll reopen tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen to open April 11

Tanya looking saucy in the aprons she'll have for sale, along with Soup Kitchen T-shirts.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen at 1725 E. Douglas should open on Monday, April 11, assuming that the inspection process goes smoothly, Tanya Tandoc told me this morning.

I called her because I’ve been teased lately by Facebook posts put up by Tanya and her brother/biz partner, Warren, showing the restaurant in progress. (I’ve also seen her husband and head construction dude Wayne around town lately, looking exhausted and dusty.)

The restaurant is taking shape, she said. She had to shout over the noise in the background, which she told me was crews putting her new floor in. She has light, and all of her kitchen equipment — including a fancy 10-burner range — is in the restaurant waiting to be installed.

“Everything is sort of gelling,” she said. “You know how you wait and wait and wait for something to gel and all the sudden it’s there?”

Tandoc’s plan is to open at lunchtime on April 11, then throw some sort of grand opening celebration later in May. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Also, Tanya has posted her daily soup specials on Facebook for those of you wondering when your favorite will be available: Mondays — chicken noodle on mashed potatoes; Tuesdays — gumbo; Wednesdays — chicken curry on rice; Thursdays — chili; Fridays — chowder and tomato curry; Saturdays — chicken tortilla. She’ll have tomato dill and bread pudding every day.

Keep scrolling for a few more pictures from the construction zone.

Read More »

A Tanya update: Weekend dinners & social media

Work is speeding along on Tanya Tandoc’s soon-to-be-revived Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, which she says will likely open at the end of the month or early April at 1725 E. Douglas.

On Saturday while we were judging meatloaf, her husband Wayne popped in looking exhausted from hours of sawing and hammering and other husband-as-contractor jobs. He was too exhausted even to eat MEATLOAF! Can you imagine?

In the weeks since she announced her opening, Tanya’s had a chance to ruminate on her plans and has decided to stay open until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, when she’ll offer her regular menu plus a few off-the-menu specials that are bowl-friendly comfort foods. Think stew and mac-and-cheese.

The hours Tanya and her brother Warren have settled on are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

If you want to keep up with the progress, you can follow the restaurant’s new Facebook page or follow its new Twitter account.

A report from the meatloaf front lines

Meatloaf was served in tiny tasting cups. If you eat 25 tiny bites, it's healthy, right?

I had more fun than I thought possible at this Saturday’s Loaf Off, a meatloaf competition that fundraiser for Make-A-Wish that made The Anchor smell sooooooo goooooood.

I had the pleasure of serving as a judge at the event, along with chef Tanya Tandoc and local Food God Joe Stumpe. We sampled and sampled and sampled meatloaf, and amazingly, they were all so different that we were actually able to decide which ones were best.

We gave the Top Loaf prize to Don Lucero, who was recently promoted to head chef at Via Christi Hospital on East Harry. He created his loaf in an angel food cake pan, stuffing it in the center with all sorts of cheesy goodness. You can find his recipe at the bottom of this post, and I suggest you make it a.s.a.p.

The crowd gathered to sample the loaves voted on People’s Choice and Best of Show. Eric and Diana Wittman won People’s Choice with a fabulous white-gravy topped loaf, and a team called The Smoked Loafers, lead by Philip Warren, won Best of Show. If my memory serves correct, their loaf was topped with latticed bacon, and it was purty.

Several other loaves were amazing, too, including a pheasant/duck/ostrich creation by Chef Paul Freimuth at the Hyatt and a very tasty Carrabba’s loaf entered by Joe Parten.

Please enjoy my photos from the event and keep reading to find Lucero’s winning recipe.

Don Lucero, the head chef at Via Christi Hospital on East Harry, was the big winner. Here he is with Lori Stone of Make-A-Wish getting his loaf award.

My co-judge Joe, preparing to dig in.

Tanya Tandoc announcing the winner.

Pretty sure this is the latticed beauty that won Best of Show.

The Hyatt's chef Paul Freimuth prepared a loaf made out of ostrich, duck and pheasant.

Could not resist a shot of this meatloaf fan sitting next to us.

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Ready to loaf

Meatloaf can be sort of a polarizing food. I love it, but many people in my life just can’t deal with it. I’m not sure why. It’s sort of like a giant meatball, and what’s not to like about that?

Good thing I’m pro-meatloaf because on Saturday, I’ll be one of three judges at the Loaf Off, a meatloaf cooking competition now in its third year.

We’ll gather at The Anchor, 1109 E. Douglas, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and sample loafs assembled by both home cooks and local chefs. Among the chefs entering this year: Paul Freimuth, the new head chef at Harvest Kitchen/Bar in the Hyatt, Carrabba’s Joe Parten and local caterer Chris Collier.

The public is invited to sample the loafs and help choose a People’s Choice category. The Anchor will be providing meatloaf friendly side-items liked mashed potatoes and gravy. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12.

My co-judges are Tanya Tandoc of the soon-to-open Tanya’s Soup Kitchen and local Food God Joe Stumpe. The event raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas.

Come loaf off with us?

Lots of food fun at the Women’s Fair

Guy Bower: Willing to teach women about wine.

I sort of love the Women’s Fair, which runs Friday through Sunday at Century II.

There’s tons of good shopping, for one, and I love watching the live haircuts that Eric Fisher and his stylists do in the middle of all the hubub.

I also love the foodie fun at the Women’s Fair, mostly because the food demonstrations always conclude with samples, and there are some good cooks on the menu this year.


At 5:30 p.m., my buddy Guy Bower (who changed my life when he taught me that I preferred Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand) will put on a wine tasting. Right after at 6:30 p.m., the Hyatt’s new chef Paul Freimuth will make his Wichita debut with a cooking show.

You will not want to miss the annual cooking show put on by Sue Chef & the Food God, also known as the Wichita Eagle’s Carrie Rengers and her food God and husband Joe Stumpe. Their always-entertaining show is at 2 p.m. Then, at 4 p.m., local chef Tanya Tandoc, who’s hard at work getting her Tanya’s Soup Kitchen reopened, will put on a cooking show of her own.

Skip lunch and go to a noon cooking show by Joe Parten, the very generous and talented chef and proprietor of Carrabba’s.

The Women’s Fair runs from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7.75 for adults, $6.75 for seniors and $4.75 for children.