Q & A with Souper Jenny
Soup lovers in Atlanta know they'll get a little something extra with each bowl from Souper Jenny's.
Maybe it's a spontaneous song from the women dishing up big helpings of comfort. Maybe it's a smile from reading one of the comment books placed on each table. Or maybe it's simply knowing they've eaten a meal that's not only tasty, but assured enough of its bona fides that it comes with a Weight Watchers points calculation.
For 10 years, Jenny Levison has been drawing a crowd to her Buckhead restaurant for servings of My Dad's Turkey Chili and countless daily specials. Now she's published her first cookbook, which offers the chili recipe and dozens of others.
Levison took time from a busy schedule that includes acting, a "Today" show appearance, running the restaurant and being a mother to answer a few questions about the ultimate comfort food.
Q: How did you decide to open a restaurant specializing in soup?
A: I moved back to Atlanta about 15 years ago and was looking for something I could do during the day and still perform in theater at night.
I have always cooked and entertained with no formal training and really did NOT know what I was doing. I loved soup and felt Atlanta didn't have a restaurant that focused on homey, earthy creations. I traveled the world learning soups from the locals and came home with a zillion ideas!
Q: What is most important in making good soup?
A: A flavorful stock. Homemade or store bought. Taste, taste, taste!
Q: How do you manage running a business, being a single mother and working as an actress?
A: I don't know how I manage! In fact, now that you bring it up, I'm a little freaked out! I have a huge support system.
Q: What's your favorite role, and why?
A: The one I am in rehearsal for now. It's a story of two sisters, one of whom gets breast cancer. I am the sister who is battling the disease. I am learning so much.
Q: What's your favorite soup, and why?
A: My favorite soup is still My Dad's Turkey Chili! It was my very first recipe and I am a Daddy's girl at heart.