When the Corvallis Waldorf School asked Intaba and Ocean Liff-Anderson, the owners of FireWorks Restaurant & Bar, to donate to a fundraiser, they were happy to help. After all, the Liff-Andersons owe their marriage to Waldorf.
The couple met in 1990, when Intaba was in a teacher training program at a Waldorf school in upstate New York. She also worked at a Waldorf farm and in the dining room. One night, Ocean stopped by to visit his friend, Intaba's boss.
"Destiny, I think it's called," Ocean said of the meeting.
"He fell in love at first sight," Intaba added.
Intaba was at the Waldorf School for three years, but eventually she left the teaching program to train as a chef. Her experiences with organic farming at the Waldorf community influenced FireWorks' menu.
Saturday night, diners have the opportunity to taste some of Intaba's handiwork. FireWorks, located at 1115 S.E. Third St., will be among 11 local restaurants vying for top prize at Waldorf's Community Auction and Soup Invitational.
Diners will have the chance to sample all the soups and vote for their favorite. The soup crowned "People's Choice" will win a handcrafted silver, brass and copper ladle made by Robert Dudenhoefer.
"It's a really fun event, because not only does it benefit the kids in our community at the Waldorf School, but also it benefits the local restaurants," said event co-chair Jodi Warne.
The school has hosted auctions in the past, but this is the debut of the soup invitational.
"Everyone's facing challenging times," Warne said. The simple comfort of soup is something everyone can appreciate, especially in a down economy.
At first, Warne wasn't sure whether restaurants would warm to the idea. But the response has been overwhelmingly positive, she said.
The event also reflects the school's emphasis on "keeping it local." Not only are the soups from area establishments, the night's auction items are primarily local goods or services, donated by parents, teachers, businesses and others. The $10 ticket price includes soup, fresh bread, salad and dessert. The event also includes live and silent auctions, raffles, live music and a no-host bar.
Soup entries will include Hungarian mushroom, smoked salmon chowder, green chili stew, coconut potato curry leek and chicken noodle.
FireWorks' submission is a vegetarian borscht, and Ocean is confident it could bring home the prize ladle.
"I think we have a good chance," he said. "People love the borscht."
If you go
What: Community Auction & Soup Invitational, a fundraiser for Corvallis Waldorf School
When: Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.
Where: Chintimini Senior Center, 2601 Northwest Tyler Ave.
Tickets: $10, available at Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis Waldorf School and at the door
Participating restaurants include: Block 15, Magenta, Zia Southwest Cuisine, FireWorks, Nearly Normal's, Tarntip Thai Cuisine, Cloud 9, The Broken Yolk, Old World Deli, First Alternative Co-Op Natural Foods and Clemenza's.
The event is for adults 21 and older.