Celebrating 20 “Souper” Years

Not many of us can say we did something for 20 years, but at Roadrunner Food Bank, Souper Bowl has become a tradition.  This annual soup and dessert sampling event started out very small.  In its first year in the early 1990’s, it had only a few participating restaurants and only a couple hundred guests.  Some say it started out in a local mall, others in what used to be known as Wild Oats (now Whole Foods).  In fact, there is only one staff person here are the Food Bank that has been to almost all 20 Souper Bowl’s.  Melody Wattenbarger, the Food Bank’s President and CEO.  She has been here since the third Souper Bowl.  It is wonderful that an event such as Souper Bowl has continued to entertain guests year after year and with so many new faces coming to the event 20 years later!  Either way, Souper Bowl has turned into a community wide event, and for a good cause…feeding hungry people in our state.

Throughout the years, many different restaurants have attended the event trying to attain the coveted “Souper Bowl Champion” award.  And this year, was no different. A record number of restaurants participated, 47 of them in fact, providing soup and desserts to more than 1,300 guests.

(Photo courtesy of Ralph Stubbe of Memory Lane Photos)

This year’s top restaurants were picked in two ways.  Guests voted for their top picks as part of the People’s Choice awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the following categories: soup, vegetarian soup, and favorite dessert. Guests also picked a top winner for the best decorated booth.  The 2013 event was the third year we gave out awards for restaurants providing a vegetarian soup.  We introduced our vegetarian soup People’s Choice Awards during the 2011 Souper Bowl.

A panel of eight judges also voted as part of a blind sampling.  The Critics’ Choice judging is comprised of local foodies, and local celebrities that sample the soups and pick their favorites in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place category. Special thanks to our Critics’ Choice judges!  We know it isn’t easy to consume all that soup from almost 50 restaurants, but we know your taste buds love the variety.

And now for the most important part.  To announce the winners of our People’s Choice and Critics’ Choice Awards at the 2013 Souper Bowl!  Remember, that the coveted “Souper Bowl” Champion Award is given to the 1st place award in our People’s Choice general soup category.

Meet the 2013 Souper Bowl winners:

People’s Choice Winners – Soup
1st Place (Souper Bowl Champion) – Bien Shur for their White Chocolate Bisque
2nd Place – Flamez Burger and More for their Green Chili Cheeseburger soup
3rd Place – Kelly’s for their Creamy Green Chili Chicken soup

Critics’ Choice Winners
1st Place – Bocadillo’s for their Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder
2nd Place – StreetFood Market for their Chicken Kai Soi Green Curry Soup
3rd Place – Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town for their Beer and Cheddar Soup

People Choice Winners – Vegetarian Soup
1st Place – Old Town Pizza Parlor
2nd Place – Forque Kitchen and Bar at the Hyatt
3rd Place – Mon Amis Personal Chefs

People Choice Winners – Desserts
1st Place – Nothing Bundt Cakes
2nd Place -Theobroma
3rd Place – The Chocolate Art Gallery

People Choice Winner – Best Booth
Gecko’s Bar and Tapas

(Photo courtesy of Connie Blanton, a volunteer that helped recruit restaurants this year.  Pictured with Connie is Bien Shur chef Marc Quiñones.)

Thank you restaurants and the staff at each restaurant that helps make the event such a success in our community.  Your savory fares not only satiate the palates of guests, but go far beyond the reaches of the one day event.  It touches lives and changes them forever.  It feeds families, children, seniors struggling to put food on the table every day.  It gives hope when sometimes there may not be any.

So, thank you guests of the event, restaurants, volunteers, and sponsors.  Not only is the event a success because of you, but is a way we can raise funds to distribute meals to hungry people throughout our state.

Sonya Warwick is the Communications Officer for Roadrunner Food Bank.

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