More than 200 people kicked off their big football weekend by attending Orland Township’s first annual Souper Bowl Challenge, treating themselves to a taste of more than 20 different soups, according to the office of Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady.
Those attending the Souper Bowl Challenge were able to sample soups from twelve different restaurants and eleven citizens, which were divided into four categories or quarters. After testing the soups, residents were asked to vote for their favorite in each quarter. In addition to the attendees voting, the Township assembled a Souper Bowl Panel of Judges, which consisted of several local officials and celebrities, who also voted for their favorite soups and chose the best decorated station in each quarter.
“We were very pleasantly surprised by the response and attendance for the first Souper Bowl Challenge,” said Supervisor O’Grady. “I want to thank everyone, from the cooks, to the volunteers, to the attendees for coming out and making the day such a great success.”
The Souper Bowl Panel of Judges chose the smoked chicken and sausage gumbo from Doc’s Smokehouse in Mokena as the winner, while the People’s Choice award went to Chuy’s Chicken Tortilla Soup.
“We’d like to thank Orland Township for the invitation to the first annual Souper Bowl Challenge and all of the other contestants with their delicious soups,” said John Guzman, Executive Chef at Doc’s Smokehouse. “It was a tough competition, thank you!”
The Panel of Judge’s also chose Chuy’s Tex Mex as the Best Decorated station in the Culinary MVP quarter.
“Chuy’s is very excited to become part of the Orland Township community when we open at the end of March,” said Jose Salazar, General Manager of Chuy’s. “We had a great time at the Souper Bowl Challenge and look forward to doing it again.”
The restaurants participating in the Culinary MVP were:
- 94 West
- Ashford House
- Black Sheep
- Blissful Banana Café
- Chuy’s Tex Mex
- Creative Cakes Café
- Doc’s Smokehouse
- Gaston’s Bistro
- Parmesans Station
- Southfork Family Restaurant
- The Original Island Shrimp House
- Traverso’s Restaurant
Attendees were also able to meet the judges who made up the Souper Bowl Panel of Judges: Star 96.7 morning show host Lisa Jordan, Illinois State Senator Bill Cunningham, Orland Hills Village Trustee Kyle Hastings II, Orland Township Clerk Cindy Murray and Chef Rachel Murphy from Robert Morris University’s Culinary Arts Program.
Winners of the Judges’ Trophy or “Golden Ladle” in the other categories were:
- Rookies (residents 12-54 years of age): Kate Hastings — lasagna soup
- Senior Hall of Famers (residents age 55 and better): Donna McIntyre — cream of cauliflower soup
- Public Service Pro Bowlers (public servants): Renee Crews – “The Bohemian Grandmother” (chicken and dumpling soup)
“It was a perfect day for such a fun event,” said Renee Crews, President of the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Souper Bowl Challenge provided a great opportunity to be out in the community meeting consumers. We’re looking forward to participating again next year.”
In addition to the soup made for the challenge, contestants were asked to make an extra batch of their soup for donation to local soup kitchens. More than 30 gallons of soup were donated to Catholic Charities Daybreak Shelter and the Crisis Center of South Suburbia.
“Both shelters were very grateful for the donations they received from our Souper Bowl Challenge,” said Supervisor O’Grady. “In fact, the clients at Catholic Charities took the challenge themselves, and they also chose the lasagna soup as the winner.”
The winners of the People’s Choice Award were:
- Rookies: Kate Hastings (lasagna soup)
- Senior Hall of Famers: Fran DuFrenne (chicken noodle soup)
- Public Service Pro Bowlers: Marie Ryan, President, Tinley Park – Park District Board of Commissioners (Italian soup)
The winners of the Best Decorated station were:
- Rookies: Kate Hasting
- Senior Hall of Famers: Fran DuFrenne
- Public Service Pro Bowlers: Bill Brady, Tinley Park Trustee
The Souper Bowl Challenge took place on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at the Orland Township Office, 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park.