Michael Schmidt might be a winner again, but the Waterdown chef said what’s most important is giving back to the community.

Schmidt took home an award from Hamilton’s Soup Fest for a fifth year in a row on Tuesday, this year winning Most Creative Soup and getting second runner up for Best Soup and Most Creative Display.

“We always try to create something new and exciting which maybe hasn’t been done before,” Schmidt told FlamboroughToday.

The festival is a fundraiser for the Living Rock Youth Centre in downtown Hamilton and this year the competing chefs were able to raise around $50,000.

Schmidt and his family, who helped him at SoupFest and work in his restaurant, stuffed. Handmade Perogies, served up 1,200 bowls of “Fried” Chicken Soup on Tuesday.

Schmidt’s sister Michelle said their team was able to raise around $6,000 for Living Rock.

“We are extremely proud to play a small part in this incredible charitable event,” Schmidt said.

“SoupFest has an amazing energy and we are happy to help.”

Move over, Kentucky Fried Chicken

Schmidt’s soup this year was his own take on Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

Michelle said the soup had a chicken stock base, which they thickened with pureed potatoes, then added veggies like celery and carrots. Schmidt didn’t use KFC chicken, but came up with his own blend of secret spices, and added deep fried chicken breast to the soup and crumbled chicken skin as a garnish.

“The key to a good soup is familiar but unique flavours. My inspiration for our soups comes from foods that I enjoy eating,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt and his family ended up making around 230 litres of soup and had about 30 litres left at the end of the festival.

Michelle said leftovers were donated to the Living Rock Youth Centre.

“They’ll be eating that for lunch or dinner sometime this week,” she said.

And for anyone else who has missed out on stuffed.’s award winning soups this year and in past years, Michelle said the restaurant is selling its past winners frozen at Connon Nurseries Winter Market every Saturday.

Schmidt said he would like to thank the Living Rock, the volunteers and staff at SoupFest.

“They are such an integral and important part of the community,” he said.

“It’s an honour to be among this generous group of individuals.”


Cara Nickerson, www.FlamboroughToday.com



Waterdown’s stuffed. serves up a winning recipe at 2024 SoupFest

The popular local food truck team was runner up for two other awards
Cara Nickerson, www.FlamboroughToday.com

A Waterdown restaurant is celebrating its fifth year of SoupFest wins, after taking home Most Creative Soup at the 2024 event at the Hamilton Convention Centre on Tuesday (Feb. 27).

Michael Schmidt, owner of stuffed. Handcrafted Perogies, wowed judges this year with his Fried Chicken Soup. His soup had its own blend of 11 secret herbs and spices, just like the classic Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Schmidt was also second runner up for Best Soup and second runner up for most creative display.

Schmidt’s sister, Michelle, said their team served around 200 litres of soup, which she estimated is about 800 bowls, with “lots of people coming back for second or third bowls.”

Altogether, this year’s SoupFest raised around $50,000 for the Living Rock Youth Centre, which puts on the event every year.

Winning streak hits fifth year

Schmidt has been competing at SoupFest since 2020, when he won Best Soup for his dill pickle soup recipe.

The following year, he won an award for Best Soup and Most Creative Soup for his bacon-mushroom recipe. In 2022, his chicken pot pie soup was recognized for 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.”

Schmidt said the key to making a winning soup is cooking up something tasty and creative.

“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.