Our Story

Our Story

The Soup Cook Off began as an idea I had over six years ago.  The idea came from my love of The Great Chowder Cook Off in Rhode Island.  My best friend and I went every year, and always had an amazing time.  I decided to create my own, for charity, right here in Pennsylvania.  I ran the idea by a few close friends, who said such positive things about my idea.  They fully believed I was capable of making it happen.  This was the beginning of something greater than I could have ever imagined.

I decided to work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for a number of reasons.  In college, I had a roommate who lived with Cystic Fibrosis, so I was very familiar with it.  Before creating this event I attended Brewers Fest and The Great Strides Walk for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  These experiences led me to be passionate about doing more for this cause.  I worked with the Central PA Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to start the event. It was a big challenge to take on such a task, but with a good support team, we got it done!

The first thing we needed was a location, but we had no budget to pay for a venue!  We thought about contacting fire halls, churches, or other smaller locations in the community.  An act of fate occurred at just the right time, when a representative of the Park Inn reached out to us!  They were looking to donate the grand ballroom for a charity event.  We were more than thrilled to accept their offer!  Without a budget, everything had to be donated.  I spent countless hours reaching out to hundreds of companies and restaurants.  Donations were needed for everything that would make this event incredible, which included printing, cups, advertisement, drinks, music, entertainment, raffle items, and other necessary items.  At last, without spending any money, everything was set in place!

The first Soup Cook Off was held at the Park Inn, Mechanicsburg, five years ago.  There were about 120 attendees, who sampled 31 soups.  The amateur division was made almost entirely of close friends, who wanted to be a part of this exciting event!   More than half of those chefs are still with the event five years later!  They are amazing, and are always recommending the event to others.  The Soup Cook Off would not exist without such great support from friends, family, and the community.  Five years later we had our 5th Annual Soup Cook Off for Cystic Fibrosis, with over 550 attendees sampling over 59 soups!  I could not be more proud of this amazing community event.  So far we have raised over $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis!  Our goal is to continue to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis and other charities, by moving The Soup Cook Off to other cities.  If you'd like us to come to your city, see our home page to contact us!

We have recently moved our Cystic Fibrosis Soup Cook Off to The Best Western Premier Hotel & Conference Center in Harrisburg, PA, as we have outgrown our first location.  With a 9,000 sq. ft. room, to comfortably hold and seat 850 guests, this event is the largest Soup Cook off in Central PA!  The Soup Cook Off features soups from both the Professional and Amateur Chefs categories. Open to the public, tasters can try over 50 soups of all varities and then vote on their favorite soups. Thats right, you the soup taster picks the winners, not a panel of judges! Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door! Bring your friends and your appetite to help in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis!  The next Soup Cook Off for CF will be held at our new location on September 18th 2016, from 12-4 PM.  We have chosen to utilize our previous location for a Soup Cook Off to benefit the Keystone Musical Arts Center, which will be held at the Park Inn, Mechanicsburg on January 31st 2016, from 12-4 PM. 

Prizes, money and trophies will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in both the Amateur and Professional Chefs categories. Do you think your soup can win The Soup Cook Off? Register online and reserve your table today to find out! This is a fun event for the entire family. We even have cupcakes for sale for those who have a sweet tooth!

Thank you for your support!

Gwen Forlizzi
Event Director

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