Next month soup and chili cooks will once again have the chance to compete for the top prize and bragging rights in The Great American Soup Off (And Chili.) The competition gets under way at 4 p.m. on Feb. 27 in the Roth Room of The Liberty, 222 E. Main St., Elkin.
“The event not only showcases local cooks but brings the community together for a great fundraiser benefiting Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministries,” said organizer Leighanne Martin Wright.
The event was the brain-child of Wright and Suzanne Puckett. The two began the Soup Off several years ago when Puckett owned Royall’s Soda Shop in Elkin. It has become a much-beloved tradition in the community.
Not only do area cooks have a chance to compete, but soup lovers can join in the fun by tasting the soups and voting for the People’s Choice Award.
“It’s a wonderful way for cooks in the community to gather together honing their cooking skills, and at the same time helping raise money for such a great cause like Tri-C,” said Douglas Sanders, who took home multiple prizes in last year’s Soup and Chili Off.
To enter, cooks must register prior to 5 p.m. on Feb. 23 by mailing in the official registration form and $10 entry fee per entry (checks made out to Tri-C). Each contest must have at least five entries with a limit of 20 total. Contestants then bring a large crock pot of their soup or chili (at least five quarts) to the Roth Room on the day of the contest.
Secret judges will be tasting all entries and scoring them. The soup and chili with the highest scores wins the $100 grand prize thanks to sponsors Rhythm On Main Dance and Gymnastics and Hugh Chatham Aquatics and Wellness Center.
In addition to the secret judges, spectators are invited to join in the fun by donating $5 and tasting all the entries and voting on their favorites. The soup and chili winning The People’s Choice awards will each get gift certificates thanks to sponsors Yadkin Valley General Store and Harry’s Place. Other sponsors include The Liberty and 222 Public House.
Registration forms are available online from The Great American Soup Off Facebook page, or can be found at the Yadkin Valley General Store and Harry’s Place.
“Suzanne and I have the best time planning this event year after year. Last year we added the chili contest and that was a big hit. I hope this event continues to grow — it’s so much fun even if you didn’t enter just to come and taste all the entries and help a great cause,” Wright said.
As a past winner, Sanders suggested contestants bring copies of their recipe to share.
“And also have little extras to garnish your soup or chili, and remember this is for fun as well,” Sanders added.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.