FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 Contact: Rob Clark, Michigan Sugar Company, 989-686-0161

Here are the recipes from the Feb. 20 competition featuring seven local chefs

SAGINAW – Though it is all in good fun, there was a bit of culinary drama this week at the 2019 Soup Cook-off, a competition sponsored by Michigan Sugar Company, WSGW and The Maytag Store.

For the first time in 17 years of competition, the initial judging resulted in a tie for first place. Upon voting a second time to break the tie, the difference between the first- and second-place finishers was a mere three points.

In the end, it was Tiffany Fiting of Brant taking home the top prize with her “Award Winning White Chicken Chili.”

Second place went to Joan Gerhardt of Saginaw with her “Smoked Salmon Soup,” and third place was captured by Ashley Monchilov of Caro with her “Shrimp & Corn Chowder.”

Also competing were:

• Cheryl Williams of Bay City (“Old Time Lentil Soup”).

• Jamie Ferguson of Saginaw (“Cheesy Chicken and Rice Soup”).

• Kamryn Chasnis of Saginaw (“Beef Noodle Soup”).

• Laura La Torre of Dryden (“Calico Bean and Andouille Sausage Soup with Toasted Johnycake and Sour Cream”).

The first-, second- and third-place winners took home cash prizes of $200, $100 and $50, respectively, provided by The Maytag Store.

“It was really great to see several new faces at our first cooking competition of 2019,” said Rob Clark, Director of Communications and Community Relations for Michigan Sugar Company.

“We’d like to keep growing these events and having new chefs come forward to compete is an important part of that.”

Michigan Sugar Company Director of Communications and Community Relations Rob Clark stands with the first-, second- and third-place finishers in the 2019 Soup Cook-off. They are: First Place – Tiffany Fiting of Brant; Second Place – Joan Gerhardt of Saginaw; and Third Place – Ashley Monchilov of Caro.

Clark joined Lois Spruytte and Alan and Karen Hall in judging the competition.

“All of the soups were incredible, as is typically the case with these competitions,” he said. “In the end, I am not surprised at how close the judging was. All of the top three soups were delicious.”

The public is invited to attend the cooking competitions that always end with free samples of the contest entries, which are prepared on site at The Maytag Store. Local chefs interested in competing must submit their recipes to WSGW. Station employees choose up to eight competitors for each contest.

Here is a look at the remaining contests for 2019:

• May 15 – Summer Salad Spectacular

• Oct. 9 – Grilled Cheese Challenge

• Dec. 11 – Cupcake Throwdown

All contests take place from approximately 9 a.m. to noon at The Maytag Store, 3800 Tittabawassee Road, Saginaw.

The Recipes

Here are all the recipes from the 2019 Soup Cook-off:

Tiffany Fiting of Brant Award Winning White Chicken Chili


1 – 48 0z. Jar of Northern Beans w/juice

2 tsp. Cumin

1 lb. Monterey Jack/Pepper Jack cheese 8 oz. Each cut into small cubes

16 oz. Mild salsa

2 lb. Chicken. Boil chicken and save 2 cups of broth & shred into bite sized pieces

3 tsp. Chopped garlic

Salt and pepper to taste


Pour everything into a heavy saucepan besides cheese for 30 minutes. Then add cheese and simmer another 30 minutes or until cheese is melted through. Be sure to stir often so cheese doesn’t stick and burn. Put in bowls and top with crumbled tortilla chips.

Joan Gerhardt of Saginaw

Smoked Salmon Soup


3 TBS butter

1 medium onion diced

2 stalks celery diced

1 carrot diced

6 cloves minced garlic

1 lb potatoes diced (Yukon Gold)

¼ tsp fennel seeds/crushed with a spoon

2 bay leaves

1-2 tsp dried basil

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes drained

3 cups vegetable broth or seafood stock

1 Tbs capers 1 Tbs brine from capers

2 Tbs tomato paste

4 oz cream cheese cut into chunks

4 tsp old bay seasoning

1 cup heavy cream

4 oz shrimp chopped or salad shrimp

8 oz thick cut smoked salmon cut into roughly diced pieces


Heat butter in a stock pot, add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook stirring until softened about 5 or 6 mins. Add garlic and potatoes. Crush the fennel seeds and add them in. Add the bay leaves, basil, diced tomatoes and stock, capers and brine. Let the soup gain a rolling simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes cook all the way through. When the potatoes are fork tender, remove lid and turn up the heat to medium. Stir in tomato paste, cream cheese and old bay. Allow cream cheese to melt into the soup. Add heavy cream and reduce the heat to allow the chowder to gently warm through until a light simmer. Add shrimp and salmon and let everything heat through.

Ashley Monchilov of Caro

Shrimp & Corn Chowder


1 lb. bag of shrimp (thawed & peeled)

1 Red Bell Pepper – roasted & diced

1 Jalapeno Pepper – roasted & diced

3 Small Potatoes – washed, peeled & cubed
½ sweet onion – finely diced

1 tsp creole seasoning

1 tsp cumin

12 oz. bag frozen corn

4 oz. can diced green chilies

2 cups Chicken Stock plus 4-5 T. for slurry

4 tsp Corn Starch

1/2 cups Heavy Cream

2 Tbs Fresh Cilantro – chopped

2 Stalks of Green Onions – chopped

Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese

Lime Wedge

Tortilla Strips

Salt & Pepper Olive Oil


Char the bell pepper & jalapeno over a gas burner till blacken all over. Place in a sealed container to steam for 15-20 minutes. Remove, wipe off the charred flesh, remove seeds & finely dice.Pat the shrimp dry using a towel & season with creole seasoning. Heat 2 T. of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the shrimp & sear for 3-5 minutes. Remove & set aside. Add the diced potatoes & onion to the pot. Season with cumin, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add the frozen corn, 1/2 the roasted diced bell pepper, the whole roasted diced jalapeno & the can of green chilies. Combine & cook 5 more minutes. .Add the 2 c. of chicken stock, bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk the corn starch & extra stock to make a slurry. Pour into the pot. Allow to simmer 5-10 minutes. Taste & adjust salt/pepper. Dice the shrimp into pieces, leaving 2 whole shrimp for garnish per each serving. Add the diced shrimp into the pot, along with the chopped cilantro & green onions. Taste, adjust seasoning in necessary. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with shredded pepper jack cheese, 2 whole shrimp & tortilla strips. Garnish with some extra cilantro & a lime wedge.

Cheryl Williams of Bay City

Old Time Lentil Soup


1lb Hamburger

1 pkg. Polish Sausage

2 lb Lentils (brown)

1 Medium Onion

1 Large Potato

Salt & Pepper


Put Hamburger in Soup Kettle and add 1 quart water and mix to break up meat until it is all crumbled. Add 2 more quarts water Add Lentils, onion (diced VERY fine), salt & pepper. Cut polish sausage in small dice and add to kettle. Cook 1 to 1 ½ hours After one hour of cooking add potato that has been diced in small pieces. Add water if soup gets thick. Serve with buttered Club Crackers.

Jamie Ferguson of Saginaw

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Soup


3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion-chopped

3 stalks of celery-chopped

3 carrots-peeled and chopped

2 Tbsp minced garlic

1 stick butter

½ cup all purpose flour

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp pepper

32 ounce plus 16 ounce chicken broth

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

1 tsp hot sauce

3 cups cooked shredded chicken

3-4 cups white rice-cooked

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup sour cream


Place oil in Dutch oven. Add veggies and cook for approximately 10 minutes then add garlic and cook for another 1 minute. In another large saucepan melt butter and add flour,salt, and pepper until thick and bubbly. Slowly add 32 ounces of chicken broth. Turn heat up a bit and continue to stir about 3-5 minutes until thick and creamy. When thick turn heat to low and add cheese and hot sauce. Stir until smooth then add to veggies, add chicken, rice, sour cream, and remaining 16 ounces of chicken broth. Stir. May want to add milk or chicken broth if you think Soup is too thick. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Turn to low and continue to cook until hot. Serve hot. Serves 8.

Kamryn Chasnis of Saginaw

Beef Noodle Soup (Pho)

Ingredients – Broth

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 cinnamon stick

4 star anise

4 cloves garlic

1 quart beef broth

1 piece of ginger

roughly chopped scallions

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons Pioneer brown sugar

Ingredients – For the bowl

Couple of thin sliced jalapeno pepper

Rice noodles

⅛ -¼ pound flank steak sliced paper thin

Bean sprouts

Fresh basil

Fresh cilantro

1-3 lime wedges

Hard-boiled egg

Directions Place a soup pot over medium low heat and add all of the spices and stir them until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beef broth. Turn the heat to high and add the remaining broth ingredients. When it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Strain the broth through a sieve into another pot. Keep it at a simmer while you assemble your bowls. To Assemble: Lay jalapeno slices in the bottom of each bowl. Top rice noodles. Drape the beef over the noodles and pour the boiling broth over top. Give a quick stir to help cook the beef, then pile on bean sprouts, sliced scallions, hard- boiled egg, basil, and cilantro. Squeeze a couple of lime wedges and let them rest in the broth for flavor.

Laura La Torre of Dryden

Calico Bean and Andouille Sausage Soup with Toasted Johnycake and Sour Cream


1 tablespoon butter

12oz andouille sausage¼ inch slices

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrot

½ cup forced celery

1 large clove garlic

¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 quart chicken stock

48oz jar cooked and ready to use mixed beans

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper


4 servings of Johnycake

4 tablespoons of melted butter

Sour Cream

Directions Melt a tablespoon of butter add sausage slices and sauté till start browning,,add veggies and cook till they start to soften stirring occasionally. Add crushed garlic and seasonings stir and cook 1-2 minutes. Add stock and beans bring to a boil and simmer 1 1/2 -2 hours till desired thickness. Check for seasonings. Crumble cornbread toss with melted butter to coat. Bake in a 350degree oven stirring once to a nice golden brown. Ladle soup on bowls top with crumbles and a dollop of sour cream. Extra cornbread on the side if desired.