By Jacob Mathias
Three area leaders are pulling out their soup pots in preparation for a new Celebrity Soup Throwdown.
Empty Bowls, the annual community project to raise funds for local hunger prevention organizations, is in its 14th year and adding something new. For the first time in Empty Bowls history, the new Celebrity Soup Throwdown will pit three local celebrities against one another as they show off their soup making prowess.
Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza, Portage County Executive Patty Dreier and Village of Plover Administrator Dan Mahoney will each prepare their own soup for Empty Bowls. The winning soup recipe will be determined by popular vote.
Votes will be cast by donating cash in the cooks’ respective ballot boxes.
“It’s going to be a phenomenal soup,” said Wiza of his entry. “Bring some money because you’ve got to vote with your dollars.”
Wiza is preparing a creamy pheasant, wild rice and dumpling soup made with locally-sourced game and vegetables. Mahoney is making a family favorite soup called “White Lightning” which he says is a spicy Mexican fajita soup. Dreier is raiding her family recipe box for mom’s old-fashioned chicken and egg dumpling soup, a recipe passed down from her grandmother.
“It’s an opportunity for us to raise a little more money for Empty Bowls and have a fun time doing it,” said Dreier. “It’s a chance for us also to showcase our soup talents. There’s a lot of pressure since I’m the only lady in the group. We’re traditionally known for being able to be greater wizards in the kitchen.”
Admission to Empty Bowls is $11 and includes a soup bowl hand painted by local potters, students and community members, soup made by local restaurants, bread, a beverage and dessert. A raffle, live entertainment, clowns and a pottery demonstration will also be available for visitors. Local favorite Tom Pease is scheduled to perform.
“As a family we’ve gone for several years. You do it for a worthy cause and help raise money and funding for those who need food,” Mahoney said. “We think the Empty Bowls program is just awesome.”
Empty Bowls will serve from 11 AM to 2:30 PM at Stevens Point Area Senior High School. For those on a tight schedule, follow the signs to the Empty Bowls drive-thru service in the school’s parking lot.