Soup Sunday draws hundreds to support child victims

For more than 20 years, some of Nashville’s most popular chefs have simmered, spiced and served their favorite soup recipes for the benefit of a Nashville nonprofit that provides comfort and protection for children who have suffered sexual assault.

The goal of “Soup Sunday” is to raise $150,000 for Our Kids, a center that provides medical care, counseling and support for children and their families. Last year, the agency’s staff of nurses and social workers served 882 children in 47 counties.

More than 1,500 purchased tickets for the LP Field event, standing in long lines to fill trays with dozens of soup samples prepared by more than 40 area chefs: the Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke and Pork Belly Bisque from Park 25 Bistro; Blueberry Pie with Mascarpone Whipped Cream soup from Lockeland Table, BBQ Brisket with Cornbread Croutons from The Bell Tower and Fried Green Tomato Bisque with Steen’s Cane Syrup Bacon Brittle from 8 Lavender Lane Catering & Events.

Chef Maneet Chauhan, a judge on Food Network’s “Chopped” and a newcomer to the local restaurant scene who opened Chauhan Ale & Masala House in the Gulch, served as one of nine judges.

Chauhan said she learned of the event from a tweet by a former contestant on “Chopped.”

“I said, ‘have them contact me,’ ” she said. “Being a parent I realize now how important it is to protect my children.” Chauhan is the mother of a 3-year-old girl and a 3-month-old boy.

While the judges were waiting to be served, many families were already digging in. Katie-Faith Stone and her husband, John Stone, brought their three daughters, ages 7, 5 and 3. If the girls were the judges, they made clear the decision would be unanimous: the Pepperoni Pizza soup by Signature Health Care Nashville.

John Stone is son of one of the founders of Our Kids, John Stone, Sr., and Soup Sunday has become a family tradition.

Our Kids’ Executive Director Sue Fort White said the event is not only a significant fundraiser for the small, 13-employee agency, but part of a broader effort to raise awareness over a dark “epidemic” of child sex abuse and erase the stigma for its victims..

“Our message to children is you have done nothing wrong,” she said. “There are children that are walking around carrying guilt and shame they should not have to carry. But we have hope and belief in the resilience of children.”