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Mid Ocean Club chef wins the Soup-A-Bowl

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Mid Ocean Club chef Richard Reno took home the top prize at this year’s Soup-A-Bowl.

Food lovers were treated to some of the Island’s most inventive soup creations at the annual fundraising event for The Eliza DoLittle Society.

Eleven chefs battled it out in a friendly soup competition to win the title of ‘Bermuda’s Best Soup’.

Mr Reno’s shrimp and red pepper bisque, complete with shrimp sausage, cilantro lime gel, corn caviar and microgreens, was named the winner.

“It was a really great feeling to win. It’s been a long time since I have done anything like this, maybe two or three years, so it was great doing something outside of the daily grind at work,” he said.

“There’s not a lot of culinary and chef-type events that go on on the Island compared to places like the United States, so it was good for the culinary community.”

A chef for the past ten years, Mr Reno said he walked into the event confident about his creation.

He told

The Royal Gazette: “I took a lot of the old techniques used when making traditional soups and also incorporated new ideas like molecular gastronomy that a lot of chefs are doing nowadays.

“I brought the A-game and had the attitude of ‘Go big or go home’.”

The 28-year-old said the cream-based soup picked up the colour and lightness from the red peppers, sweet flavour from the corn caviar and earthiness from such microgreens as cilantro and baby beet tops.

Fairmont Southampton chefs Nick Vandeweg and Sanjay Leeme were runners-up in the event.

Mr Vandeweg created a chowder with Bermuda rockfish, broad beans and spinach. Mr Leeme won praise for his cream of ginger butternut squash.

Amateur chef Shane Morrissey, from the Bermuda College, won in the student category for his roasted corn chowder with cajun grilled chicken soup.

George Muhlbacher, president of the Bermuda Chef Association, said the event was a success.

The charity will announce how much money was raised at the event, later this week.

Mr Mulbacher said: “A lot of foodies came out, including Premier Craig Cannonier, the Governor George Fergusson and about 300 other guests, who enjoyed a great evening.

“There were 11 professional chefs and three culinary students from the Bermuda College who created tasty soups for everybody to enjoy, and there was a nice vibe and buzz about in the Harbourview Ballroom at Hamilton Princess.

“Foodies mingled with the chefs from various restaurants and hotels and were able to go around tasting and comparing soups. All the chefs had lots of fun and enjoyed the friendly competition.”

He said the local students who took part also had a good time and were able to experience first-hand what it’s like working in front of guests.

Shrimp and red pepper bisque (chef Richard Reno)

Yields 1 gallon


2oz extra virgin olive oil

4lbs shrimp

4 medium/large red peppers

1lb onion

2oz Garlic

6oz white wine

3oz tomato paste

1 quart cream

½ lbs butter (diced)

Lemon juice (to taste)

Salt (to taste)


In a very large saucepan heat oil and sear shrimp in small batches. Set aside. Then heat more oil. Add peppers, onions, garlic and sweat till vegetables are tender, then add shrimp and white wine. Bring to boil. (Remember to season as you go, little by little, so you’re not dumping all the salt at the end.)

Add tomato paste and make sure to stir and incorporate to all ingredients. Add cream and bring to a soft simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat. Purée in small batches in blender and strain through a fine sieve.

Once bisque is puréed and strained, place in a large, clean saucepan. Bring up to a simmer slowly so the bottom isn’t scorched. Add butter and start adjusting the consistency and taste (you want a smooth and silky texture). Before serving, add some lemon juice.

Cream of butternut squash and ginger soup (chef Sanjay Leeme)


12oz butter

3oz garlic

2 large onions, diced

6 stalks celery, diced

10oz ginger

9 large butternut squash

4 bay leaves

2 tbs peppercorns

½ bunch fresh thyme


5 cans coconut milk

2 pkg of cooking cream




Chop all vegetables. Melt butter in pot, and add the onions and garlic. Cook down very slowly. Next, add the celery, ginger and butternut squash. Stirring continuously, cook down slowly, until the squash starts to get soft, and lets off liquid, approximately one hour.

Make a sachet with the thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add to pot. Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer until ingredients are soft, approximately one hour

Purée soup in a blender until smooth then add the coconut milk and cream and bring to a noil. Adjust seasonings to taste. Cool in an ice bath.

Rockfish, broad bean and spinach chowder (Chef Nick Vandeweg)

Ingredients4 cups milk

⅔ cup heavy cream

1½lb rockfish skinned and boned

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion sliced

2 garlic cloves sliced

1lb potatoes chopped

1lb fava bean podded

80a fresh spinach

Pinch grated nutmeg

½ tbsp chopped chive

Salt and black pepper


Pour milk and cream in to a large pan and bring to a boil. Add rock fish and bring back to a simmer for two- three minutes then remove from heat.

Using fork flake the fish into chunks and cover.

Heat oil in a large pan, add onion and garlic until soft. Add potatoes and stir in milk mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, then let cook for ten minutes.

Add beans and cook until potatoes and beans are tender; add cod and stir in spinach. Season soup well and add nutmeg and chives.

Soup-A-Bowl party: Diners enjoy the Eliza Dolittle Society's 2013 Soup-a-Bowl event at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess (Photo by Glenn Tucker)
George Muhlbacher
Soup fit for the Premier: Amateur chef Tre Joinville serves Premier Craig Cannonier a bowl of his Pacific chowder, while his instructor Shawn Ming looks on. (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published February 28, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated February 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm)

Mid Ocean Club chef wins the Soup-A-Bowl

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