Soup's on!

The Arrieta family, top left, was represented by three generations at the 21st Annual Volunteers in Medicine-Hilton Head Island Soup Challenge held earlier this year at Hilton Head Island's Westin Resort & Spa. Pictured is 13-year-old Brandon Arrieta, center, flanked by grandfather Hugo, left, and father Brandon, right, owners of Hugo's Seafood & Steakhouse, on Hilton Head Island. Hugo's won first place for best soup, as well as the people's choice and best presentation awards for "Hilton Head Crab and Asparagus Cappuccino with Asiago-Black Pepper Crackers." Bottom left are Hilton Head Island's Celebrations Catering & Events executive chefs Aram Haroutunian, left, and Andy Borgmeier. Celebrations Catering & Events tied with Hugo's for the best soup award with "Coyote Soup" (served with "BBQ Duck Quesadilla"). Chef Ken Ballard, owner of Hilton Head Island's Kenny B's French Quarter Café, pictured with son Zachary, bottom right, took the third place best soup award and tied with Hugo's for best presentation with "Uncle Willy's Souper Bowl New Orleans Stew."

If you’re feeling adventurous, you might be interested in challenging your soup-making skills with these award-winning recipes from the 21st Annual Volunteers in Medicine-Hilton Head Island Soup Challenge, held earlier this year at Hilton Head Island’s Westin Resort & Spa. For $20, event goers could sample all the soup they cared to eat from among the 22 soups offered by 23 chefs and have a chance to vote for their favorite soup via the people’s choice award.

This year’s competition brought ties for the first place best soup award and for best presentation, with one of the soups winning awards in multiple categories. “Hilton Head Crab and Asparagus Cappuccino with Asiago- Black Pepper Crackers,” from Hilton Head Island’s Hugo’s Seafood & Steakhouse, was the three-time champion, winning top honors for best soup, people’s choice and best presentation. Hilton Head Island-based Celebrations Catering & Events tied for the first place soup award with “Coyote Soup” (served with “BBQ Duck Quesadilla”), with Kenny B’s French Quarter Café, also located on Hilton Head Island, winning the third place soup award with “Uncle Willy’s Souper Bowl New Orleans Stew,” which also tied for best presentation.

Proceeds from the VIM Soup Challenge assist in providing free medical, dental and mental health services to families and individuals living or working on Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands who could not otherwise afford those services.

For further information about VIM, visit the organization’s website at, where you’ll also find recipes for all 22 competing soups.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at