Local Spotlight: La Soupe

Have you ever wondered where the food that isn’t used at restaurants and grocery stores goes? Food waste is a big concern in our country, and La Soupe, a chef-led initiative in Cincinnati, is helping to address that issue locally. The nonprofit partners with 150 local grocers, farms, restaurants, manufacturers and distributors to rescue an average of 25,000 pounds of fresh food weekly. La Soupe chefs transform these rescued ingredients into restaurant-quality soups and meals, that are then shared with food-insecure members of the community. So far, La Soupe has rescued more that 5 million pounds of food and shared over 3.5 million restaurant-quality servings since its inception. 

Southwest Ohio Parent spoke to Chelsey Hughes, the director of communications for La Soupe, to learn how the nonprofit is addressing food waste and food insecurity, and creating sustainable change through their programs. 

How did La Soupe start? 

Suzy DeYoung [founder of LaSoupe], following in the footsteps of her father, Chef Pierre Adrian, pursued her culinary dreams in France, working in prestigious restaurants. Alongside her sister, she opened La Petite Pierre, a celebrated French bistro in Cincinnati. Moved by the sight of food waste and aware of food insecurity issues, DeYoung founded La Soupe as a nonprofit in 2015 after 27 years with La Petite Pierre.  

What sets La Soupe apart? 

We are the sole chef-led initiative in Cincinnati that tackles food waste and insecurity. Our team of chefs expertly converts rescued ingredients into frozen meals before they reach the end of their usable life. By taking on the responsibility of cooking near-end-of-life, unappealing or bulk-packaged ingredients, we free up our clients to focus on other priorities and ensure maximum impact in the fight against food waste and insecurity. 

What are you doing with food that’s not fit for human consumption? 

It too can bypass the landfill. La Soupe has formed partnerships with local farmers and organizations, ensuring that even food not fit for human consumption contributes to a sustainable cycle through composting and feeding animals.   

You are expanding your freezer space. What impact will that have on your services? 

From project origination in 2023 to full utilization by the end of 2026, the Basement Expansion will enable La Soupe to double the annual production capacity of the Transform Kitchen and our impact through: 

  • 2 million pounds of rescued food 
  • 1.8 million servings shared into the community  
  • 5 additional production full time employees 
  • 1000+ additional volunteer hours 

How can people get involved with La Soupe? 

Get involved with La Soupe through volunteering or donating. You can learn more about both of these by visiting our website at lasoupe.org. 

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