As winter continues and the cold weather rages on, you can always look to soup as a way to warm up.

It's something that Ralf Dauns has been perfecting for 22 years at The Soup Meister at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, B.C.

"What I like most about it is sometimes when I look at the counter and you see two, three generations. You see the grandfather with his son and granddaughter sitting at the counter and they're all eating a bowl of soup. That's very satisfying," Dauns said.

Dauns, who is originally from Germany, said after travelling and working all over the world, he got sick of the corporate life.

Ralf Dauns

Chef Ralf Dauns got sicks of the corporate world, so he traded it for a couple of stock pots and opened his own business. (CBC/ Vivian Luk)

"I am not a very good corporate employee so I figured I should be out on my own," Dauns explained.

"I always liked to make soups, stocks and sauces and gave it a little shot — and here we are, 22 years later."

Over the many years of cooking up large batches of comfort, Dauns has settled on some favourites, including simple classics like split pea and ham soup.

"It's just a very comforting soup. You're getting lots of iron through the peas, you're getting lots of flavour ... It just warms you up, it's comfort food. It's nothing fancy, it's easy, it just feels good," he said.

Tips for your next split pea and ham soup

As with every soup recipe, there are many variations. Some of Dauns' tweaks for his split pea and ham soup include:

  • Add juniper berries when boiling the ham hock for the stock
  • Add dijon mustard, a dash of balsamic vinegar and some nutmeg once the soup is cooked.
  • Don't add too much salt because of the saltiness of the ham — you can always add more later.

With files from The Early Edition and Vivian Luk.

For more soup stories, listen to The Early Edition's series, Soup Season, airing every Tuesday in February.