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Souper Bowl: Chefs and artists team up for 20th annual Habitat benefit
By Emily Topper
For Richard Duff, a good soup begins with a great sauce.
“You have to have a basic knowledge of making what’s called the mother sauces,” Duff, the chef at Father Pat’s Kitchen, said. “Your brown sauce, your tomato sauce. Then you can get creative with your soups.”
The Marine veteran has been in the food industry for 60 years, and has served meals for former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford. But this weekend, Duff will be dishing out a signature soup for the 20th annual Souper Bowl, a fundraiser for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Father Pat’s Kitchen joins nearly 40 area restaurants for the event. While shrimp bisque and she crab soup are popular on the serving list, Duff wanted to go a different route.
“I’m making a shrimp, mushroom and roasted poblano pepper soup,” Duff said. He found a pre-made soup at Fresh Market a few years ago, then created his own recipe. “I change it every year, just like I do in the soup kitchen.”
Duff is responsible for the Thursday meal at Father Pat’s Kitchen. Throughout the year, he makes sure there’s a different soup every week.
“For this event, I try to make something that you wouldn’t walk into a restaurant on Highway 17 and see on the menu,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of clam chowders, shrimp bisques, regular soups. I try to come up with something that is nutritious and appetizing.”
And, Duff said, a good soup has to appeal with the people.
“Soups are very local,” he said. “I don’t think a peanut butter soup would go over as good here as it would in coastal Virginia. I try to create something where the people will say, ‘That’s a good soup.’ “
While food is now the focal point, the event began in 1998 as a way to recycle pottery bowls. Linda Ketron, the owner of Art Works at Litchfield Exchange, came up with the idea for the fundraiser after a pottery teacher, Lori Leary, had an excess of beginner works.
“You throw bowl after bowl just to get the technique down,” Ketron said. “You aren’t supposed to get attached to these early bowls. Together, we came up with this idea of doing the Souper Bowl because we had seen similar things in other communities. Twenty years ago, the winter was dead and there was nothing to do. We knew it would be a big success.”
The event has grown in both success and popularity over the years. Originally held at the Litchfield Exchange, the Souper Bowl later moved to Pawleys Island Community Church then Precious Blood of Christ’s Parish Hall to accommodate more participants. The number of soup makers has grown from 18 in early years to 40 this year.
“There was one year, probably about 2004, when the fuses blew out,” Ketron said of the early years at Litchfield Exchange. “We could hardly move in there and we had so many crock pots on extension cords that we just blew out the circuits.”
Over time, the supply of extra bowls diminished. Many local potters, including Leary, have moved away. But attendees can still buy decorated bowls – this year from a selection of 525 bowls – of all shapes and sizes, often decorated by local artists.
While attendees look forward to soups and socializing, their funds are put to good use. In its first year, the fundraiser raised $2,200 for Habitat. Now, leaders at the nonprofit say it’s not uncommon to bring in more than $25,000 from the Souper Bowl event. In the past, funds have gone toward finishing two to three houses per year in Georgetown.
Annette Perreault, Habitat’s executive director, said that this year’s funds will go toward building a three-bedroom house.
“The Souper Bowl helps fill the funding gap that we may have with some of our houses” Perreault said. “This year, the funds are being used for a house on Palm Street for a family and their three children.”
Additional funds for Habitat come from the event’s silent auction fundraiser. This year, a wooden boat from the Georgetown Wooden Boat show has been remodeled to include a child’s picnic table. The generosity of the community, Perreault said, is what continues to make the event a success from year to year.
“Our volunteers as well are our unsung heroes,” she said. “Precious Blood also has been so generous with us, and they’re so wonderful to work with.”
Participants are able to purchase soup containers to take home with them. The leftovers are donated and served at Father Pat’s Kitchen.
The Souper Bowl will be held Saturday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church. Tickets are $35 at the door or $30 in advance at Applewood House of Pancakes, the Chocolate and Coffee House, Greenskeeper Florist, Palmetto Ace Home Center and the Habitat ReStore. The ticket price includes a handcrafted bowl, a sampling of 40 soups, fresh bread and beverages.
Roster includes chowders, gumbos and bisques
Soups for the 20th annual Souper Bowl are:
700 Modern Grill and Bar: loaded baked potato;
Alfresco Georgetown Bistro: beef minestrone;
Applewood House of Pancakes: seafood chowder with corn;
Atlantic House: Italian meatball and cabbage;
Austin’s Ocean One: hearty roasted duck soup with creamy wild rice;
Big Tuna Raw Bar: shrimp and smoked sausage gumbo;
BisQit: baked potato soup;
Bistro 217: crab tomato jalapeno;
Buzz’s Roost: hearty chicken noodle;
Capt. Dave’s Dockside: spinach artichoke;
Capt. John’s Seafood Grill: seafood gumbo with shrimp and scallops;
Carefree Catering: white bean and ham;
Father Pat’s Kitchen: shrimp: mushroom and roasted poblano pepper;
Fresh Market: Italian wedding soup;
Front Street Deli: cream of tomato with basil;
Get Carried Away Southern Takeout: Lorenzo’s turkey lentil soup;
Gio’s: lentil soup;
Graham’s Landing: Graham’s Lowcountry stew;
Groucho’s: chicken chili;
Habañeros: chicken soup;
Hanser House: Manhattan clam chowder;
Hopsewee Plantation: Gin-Gin’s chicken soup;
Hot Fish Club: to be announced;
Island Bar and Grill: cheeseburger soup;
Landolfi’s: Stilton cauliflower soup;
Litchfield Beach Fish House: she crab soup;
Lowes Foods: cock-a-doodle noodle;
Pastaria 811: shrimp bisque;
Pawleys Island Bakery: curried vegetable;
Pawleys Island General Store: heirloom bean and ham;
Pawleys Island Tavern: she crab soup;
Pawleys Plantation: Mama’s vegetable soup;
Quigley’s: lima bean and ham;
River Room: black bean;
The Reserve: cream of mushroom;
Rollins Local: shrimp corn chowder;
Rustic Table: clam chowder;
Salt Water Creek Café: Tuscan chicken;
Thomas Café: gumbo;
True Blue: New England clam chowder.