Food, Wine & Spirits in St. Louis

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 / 12:20 PM

St. Louis' Only Soup Competition--Manor Grove's "Soup's On!"--Is This Sunday (UPDATED, with winners)

St. Louis' Only Soup Competition--Manor Grove's "Soup's On!"--Is This Sunday (UPDATED, with winners)

OK, there are a few parish-church-type soup competitions around town throughout the year, but in comparison to the 6th Annual "Soup's On!," they are minor and few.

"Soup's On!" is an annual fundraiser for Manor Grove, a Kirkwood-based, long-term health care facility. The inaugural event had 400 attendees; this year, organizers are expecting up to 1500. As this event had become a bit cozy in prior years, this year's competition will be held in a larger venue, the Meramec Community College Gym at 11333 Big Bend Road.  

"Soup's On!" will be held this Sunday, February 24, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance ($4 for kids 12 & under), $10 at the door ($5 for kids). And new this year: complimentary valet parking. 

As in past years, several dozen competitors (predominantly restaurants, see below) will vie for the coveted Gold, Silver, or Bronze Ladle, in two divisions, People's Choice and Judge's Choice. To add another dimension, a "Just Desserts" division was added last year.  

Chowders and cream-based soups always seem to show well at this event. As we noted last year, the Creamy Reuben Soup from Monty's Sandwich Company took a Judge's Gold and a People's Silver; in 2010, a Smoked Salmon Chowder took the Judge's Gold.     

Attendees can expect to find roughly two dozen soups and a handful of desserts. Guests also receive a directory that includes participating restaurants, soup recipes, past winners, and a brief history on why Manor Grove sponsors the event.

Bisques, broths, cream-based, chowders, unusual soups, chilis, gumbo--the soups run the gamut. With the exception of the most basic and popular soup in the land--Chicken Noodle--which oddly has never made an appearance. In this judge's opinion, that's worth some "Originality" points right there. Maybe this year...    

Competitors and judges are below (with yours truly returning for a sixth straight year):

2013 "Soup's On" Competitors:

* = new competitor

2013 "Soup’s On" Judges:

  • Art McDonnell – Mayor of Kirkwood
  • Allyson Mace – Publisher,  Sauce magazine
  • Alvin Reid – WXOS Radio, ESPN Sports, Donnybrook
  • Angela Hutti – FOX 2 KTVI Meteorologist
  • Bill Beggs, Jr -- Columnist, Town & Style Magazine
  • Chef Manfred Zettl – Master Chef
  • Dave Glover – Radio host, KFTK 97.1 FM
  • George Mahe – Dining Editor, St. Louis Magazine
  • Karen Hawkins  - Publisher, The New You magazine
  • Jeanne Kirkton – Missouri State Rep
  • Pat McGonigle – TV anchor, KSDK CH 5
  • “Smash”  - Radio personality, Smash Band


UPDATE: The judges have judged and the people have spoken. Here are the results of the competition:


Judge's Awards: Gold Ladle: Smoked Gouda & Wild Mushroom Soup from Cielo at the Four Seasons

Silver Ladle: BBQ Brisket Soup from South Tech Culinary Arts

Bronze Ladle: Poblano Chicken Chowder from Canyon Cafe


People's Choice Awards: Gold Ladle: Poblano Chicken Chowder from Canyon Cafe

Silver Ladle: BBQ Brisket Soup from South Tech Culinary Arts

Bronze Ladle: Asian Sriracha Chicken Noodle Soup from  LaCHEF Catering


"Just Desserts" Competition:

Judge's Award: Carrot Cake from Schnuck Markets

Peoples Choice Award: Carrot Cake from Schnuck Markets


1. This year, Canyon Cafe was once again allowed to enter their multi-multi award winning Poblano Corn Chowder, resulting in 2 more awards, including another Gold Ladle.  

2. The other double-award soup winner was the BBQ Beef Brisket Soup from South Tech Culinary Arts, who had won twice before with their Triple Berry White Chocoalte Swirl, a dessert "soup."

3. Schnuck Markets swept the "Just Desserts" category with its Carrot Cake.

4. Soups and desserts notwithstanding, it was nine-year-old Chef Elliott (below) who stole the show with his witty and winding, polysyllabic explanations of soups and soup chefs. For his contributions, Master of Ceremonies "Smash" invited him to join the Judge's Table at next year's event. Elliott accepted. Sir Smashington should fear for his job. 


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