Judging by the turnout for yesterday's 10th Annual Chicken Soup Cookoff, Houstonians like their soup. The event, held at Congregation Emanu El, consisted of 40 vendors ladling out soup to what must have been over a thousand people. "This is the biggest it's ever been," said event co-chair Keith Solomon.
For a soup whore such as myself, it was like walking into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory -- well, if Willy was serving up Coconut Chicken Soup, or Black Mushroom Chicken Soup, or Smoked Chicken Asparagus Soup, or Creole Chicken Soup. I could go on and on, and in fact, I did--with my little cup and plastic spoon that was issued upon entry.
The concept was simple. For $10 bucks, you could fill up on as much soup as your Campbell's-lovin' ass could handle. The place was crawling with people shooting down soup from such places as Carmelo's, Fadi's, Mockingbird Bistro, Pesce, Sushi Raku, Kenny and Ziggy's and Mark's.
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But let us not forget, this was a competition. First-place winners included: Kenny and Ziggy's (Traditional), Napoli (Creative), Chef LJ Wiley (International), Benjy's (People's Choice), and Buca di Beppo (Showmanship and Presentation).
"It's been my honor and a privilege to be involved in this event for several years now. It's for a very good cause, benefiting the Houston Food Bank. I have been a media sponsor and also have been a judge. The soups this year were outstanding, off the charts," said Cleverley Stone of The Cleverley Show, Talk 650.
I happened to agree with her.