With just two weeks to go until the competition, Michael Schmidt has narrowed down his recipes to one or two potential entries

Michael Schmidt, AKA Chef Mike, is going for soup gold again at Hamilton’s 22nd Annual Soup Fest.

With just two weeks to go until the competition, he’s narrowed down nine recipes to one or two potential entries.

“I think I have one picked out, but it’s a little difficult trying to decide,” Michael said.

Michael said creating a winning soup is all about finding the right flavours, but his sister, Michelle Schmidt, said being able to make big batches is important, too.

“It’s just about tasting what he likes better and what’s easier to execute, because last year we served over 1,300 bowls. So it’s a lot of soup,” she said.

Soup champion enters fifth competition

Michael is the owner of the popular Waterdown-based perogi food truck, stuffed., which he runs with his family. He has been competing at Soup Fest since 2020.

That year, he won Best Soup for his dill pickle recipe.

The following year, in 2021, he won an award for Best Soup and Most Creative Soup for his bacon-mushroom recipe.

Their chicken pot pie soup brought home Most Bowls of Soup served at the competition.

Last year, he won the public’s vote for Best Soup, but was runner up when judges made their vote, for his creamy spinach artichoke soup.

Michelle said last year’s winner was “loaded with chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, sauteed onions, diced red peppers, Parmesan cheese, served over three-cheese tortellini, then garnished with shredded cheese and served with wedges of fresh pita or naan bread.”

Michael said he doesn’t know what the exact recipe for creating an award winning soup is.

“I always thought it was a basic soup that everyone knows, but we have entered with different soups and we have done quite well. We like to offer a lot of flavour in our soups,” he said.

He can’t say what he’s got cooking for this year, but says he’s had help narrowing it down.

“I have friends and family that I test it out on, see what they think, what needs to be improved or changed,” he said.

This year Soup Fest is on Feb. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Hamilton Convention Centre.  Tickets are $20, which gets you four bowls of soup from vendors at the festival. Proceeds from the event go to the Living Rock Youth Centre.


Cara Nickerson,