A Little Bird Tells Us Delicious Things Are on the Table for Chef/Owner Meagan Lagasse
Meagan Legasse serves lunch which might include Beet, New Potato Salad with Blue Cheese Créme Fraiche on Organic Baby Greens; A sampler trio of soups Sundried tomato and Sweet Corn Bisque, Portobello, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup and Lima Bean and Blue Cheese Soup.
When Maine native Meagan Lagasse opened the doors to Soup Swift in February 2008, she had no idea how, or even if, her soup-specializing café would catch on. After all, hers was a different — and, well, slightly warmer — approach to holistic dining than Tallahassee was accustomed to.
Think about it. Soup? In Florida? All year round? Needless to say, there were skeptics. But that didn’t stop her. Encouraged by friends and fellow soup advocates to follow her dreams of being a self-employed, creative proponent of healthful living, Lagasse decided to turn her passion for delicious dining into a career.
“You’re supposed to choose the thing that you can get up and do every day,” explained Lagasse of her life’s philosophy. “And definitely, I still, after five years, get up every day and I’m excited to play with the flavors of the soups.”
Some of those playful flavors include Smoked Apple and Butternut Squash Bisque, Chinese Chicken Soup, Potato Sausage and Kale, Carrot with Ginger and Corn Chowder. Many of her soups are vegetarian, and some are also vegan as well as gluten-free — a culinary challenge Lagasse prides herself on mastering. While the bulk of the café’s business does hinge on soup, the eatery also offers other choices, including daily salad, sandwich and quiche options as well as dessert pastries.
Growing up in a French-influenced household means that by her very nature Lagasse is a purist. In an effort to let the flavor of her menu items speak for themselves, she insists on using only the freshest of ingredients — making traditional, seasonal crop harvest calendars her guiding light.
“Whatever ingredients or ingredient are in the soups or salad are all of the season and the freshest they can be, and therefore I just don’t have to manipulate them very much,” Lagasse shared on why she made the decision to have her menu change daily. “I’m such an advocate of whole food eating.”
Now, Lagasse’s advocacy is taking her in a new direction — catering. In October, she unveiled her latest business venture, Little Bird Vintage Catering, which will focus on intimate event catering for finer palates. Wedding receptions, bridal showers and upscale dinner parties are this new company’s ideal clientele. Little Bird Vintage Catering will serve high-end delectables with a personal touch. Menu items might include unique appetizers, savory moussed entrees and petite deserts.
“I want to do a re-visitation of (traditional catering) and call it vintage catering,” she explained. “It’s more pâtés and tureens and real profiteroles that are filled with savory and sweet things.”