"I have always loved to cook, because I love to eat," said Jessica Hazan, who many people in and around Hamden know as "The Soup Girl."
Hazan is always cooking up something good, and soon more people might enjoy the smells from her kitchen when she opens a permanent cooking shop for her business in the Whitneyville neighborhood.
"I’m the Soup Girl of Hamden," she said.
It all started because she loved to cook up big pots of soup. She always had more than her family could eat, so she gave away portions to some of her neighbors. They loved it so much they said they would buy it if she ever decided to sell it.
So four years ago, in January 2008, she started Soup Girl, a soup delivery service. Typically, she advertised three soups du jour on her web site, one vegan, one vegetarian and one a fish or meat recipe.
The difference between vegan and vegetarian is the vegan contains no animal products, while the vegetarian is meatless but might contain a dairy product, such as with a cream of vegetable soup.
Hazan said customers place their orders online and the next day she delivers to their home or business.
She said the business began small, but its popularity increased when she gained exposure at farmers’ markets in Hamden and New Haven.
Hazan is originally from Queens, N.Y., which she described as a community blessed with many diverse ethnic cuisines. Being around so many different kinds of food molded her love for ethnic cooking.
She, her husband, Scott, and their two sons moved to Hamden eight years ago, when Scott took a position as director of student activities at Quinnipiac University. He now serves in that position at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
Her children love her cooking, and she says her husband’s favorite is her Thai coconut with chicken soup.
Hazan’s personal favorite is lemon orzo with chicken. "It’s actually a Greek soup. It’s considered Greek penicillin," she said.
And her best seller is a cold beet soup she makes during the summer.
The Soup Girl will open in mid-February at 1242 Whitney Avenue near the corner of Putnam Avenue. Hazan said she will share the space with Erica O’Brien Cake Design, who makes wedding cakes and other special, custom-ordered cakes.
Up to now, Soup Girl has only delivered to locations in Hamden, New Haven, North Haven, Cheshire, Woodbridge and Bethany. But from her new location she hopes to expand her deliveries as far as Wallingford, Branford and beyond, Hazan said.
The store will also allow people to stop and buy her soups du jour as a takeout order.