28th annual sats Sunday Attracts thousands of youth villages charity
Jim Weber / The Commercial Appeal

Youth Villages organizes its annual Soup Sunday tasting on February 17th at FedExForum.

This year marks the 30-year jubilee for this beloved fundraising. The organizers pull out all the stops to celebrate the party, expect almost 3,000 guests and have about 60 restaurants and caterers in line to prepare soup and much more.

A young participant enjoys a cup of soup at the Youth Villages Soup Sunday last Sunday. The 30th anniversary of this fundraising is February 17 at FedEx Forum. (Photo: Youth Villages)

Celtic Crossing is one of the restaurants that participate this year. It is the fourth year of Celtic Crossing to participate.

"We usually try to take a different soup every year," says Garrett Miller, chef at Celtic Crossing. "This year we bring an Irish vegetable soup plus our pimento, made with the recipe of our grandmother."

Each restaurant is asked to bring 30 gallons of soup. Miller estimates that it will take three to four days to make such a large quantity.

Some of the most popular restaurants and caterers in Memphis take part in the event, which has raised almost $ 1 million since it began in February 1990. Each participant brings a soup and most bring another specialty such as an aperitif, a side or a dessert.

"Restaurants such as The Half Shell, Huey's, Hog Wild BBQ Catering, Mosa Asian Bistro, Stone Soup Cafe and Rizzo are taking part year after year", says Amanda Mullen, Development Coordinator at Youth Villages.

New in 2019 is Strano from chef Josh, The Capital Grille and Forest Hill Grill.

The 30-year jubilee Youth Villages Soup Sunday is February 17 at FedEx Forum. Organizers expect almost 3,000 attendees this year. (Photo: Youth Villages)

The logistics of running hot soup and other dishes from 60 companies to a crowd of thousands is pretty amazing.

Tom Cassidy III led the attack for almost the entire history of the event.

"My family owned American Seafood and my father was on the board of Youth Villages," he said. "We would use our trucks and cool storage to transport the soups from the restaurants to the location, and I drove the very first truck."

Today, Cassidy manages the central kitchen that stores and reheats the soups and other dishes for the event. "We want to make it as easy as possible for the restaurants," he said. "I organize all the food and heat it again … I even cut cakes."

Like most who volunteer for the Youth Villages, Cassidy said that it is a love labor. "I have done several tours through Youth Villages," he said. "You just can not hang around what these kids are going through, and I can do any small thing that I can do to help. & # 39;

Soup Sunday was started by Danny Sumrall of The Half Shell and Mike Warr, a board member for Youth Villages. The friends had seen a similar event in Little Rock, Arkansas, and thought it would be a great way for the Memphis community to visit several restaurants at once. With only a handful of restaurants, the first event was held in the old Captain Bilbo's in Downtown Memphis. Little did they know how the event would grow into what it is today.

"We decided to try a family day event with the first event that took place at Captain Bilbo & # 39; s," Sumrall said. "After our second year, we knew that our space was not big enough to accommodate the crowds, so Soup Sunday had several homes – including Woodland Hills Country Club and the Pyramid – and is currently taking place at FedExForum.

"The work that Pat Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages, and his staff do for neglected youngsters made our engagement an easy choice, I am a cheerleader for the event and encourage my fellow restaurant owners to participate."

The main event takes place in the FedExForum hall, which wraps around the entire room. A VIP room is located at the top of the Draft Room.

The event is designed as a family affair, with a children's zone with activities such as Oreo stacking competitions, magic shows by Magic Mr. Nick, face painting and balloon animals.

Jeugddorpen Soepzondag is a family event, with activities such as Oreo stacking competitions for children. (Photo: Youth Villages)

Funds for the event support Chris Crye Mentoring program at youth villages. "Many young people in our program do not have a strong local support system," Mullen said. "This program provides a mentor with which they can go on campus and experience the city like other children."

General admission for adults is $ 20; children aged 6-12 are $ 10; and ages of 5 years and younger are free. VIP Souper Party tickets are $ 75 for adults and $ 30 for children. VIP Souper Party tickets for couples are exclusively available at for $ 110. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

New chef at Graceland

J. Steven Brockman is the new chef at The Guest House at Graceland. (Photo: Graceland)

The guest house at Graceland has a new chef. In his new position, J. Steven Brockman oversees all food and beverage at the hotel, including Delta's Kitchen, EP's Bar and Grill, Shake Rattle and Go coffee shop and Lobby Bar, as well as banquet catering and room service for the building with 450 rooms.

Brockman was born in Nebraska and served in the US Navy as a rescue swimmer specializing in anti-submarine warfare. After circling the world with the navy, he enrolled at the Culinary School of Washington, D.C. In the past two decades he has built an extensive resume in restaurants and hotels in D.C., San Francisco, Santa Fe, Beijing and Yucatan.

"I cook because I love the magnetic society of food, I laugh with friends about home-made beer, grill lobsters at a Maine fire pit, make holiday chocolate with my daughters, and look for mushrooms in Oregon." Food is a community, "Brockman said. "I look forward to building on the establishment of The Guest House at Graceland with the spirit of southern hospitality, the background of Elvis and the premium of the Mississippi River Delta."

Memphis female pitmasters can be seen in Southern Living

Helen Turner, owner and pitmaster of Helen's Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, Tennessee, was featured in Southern Living magazine as one of the most influential women in the barbecue. (Photo: Robbie Caponetto / Southern Living)

There are two pitmasters from Memphis area The February issue of the magazine Southern Living.

Included in the list of the most influential women of the barbecue are Helen Turner from Helen's Bar-B-Q in Brownsville and Melissa Cookston from Memphis Barbecue Company in Horn Lake.

For more than 20 years, Turner has been serving her old-fashioned wood-cooked barbecue to loyal customers. Her business is a show with one woman. She does it all – from taking care of the fire of oak and hickory blocks and shifting coal under the shoulders and ribs on an open cinder block pit to serve customers through the order window. The restaurant is located about 60 miles northeast of Memphis.

Cookston earned the nickname of "The Winningest Woman in Barbecue & # 39 ;. In 2007 she and her husband stopped their day job to concentrate solely on competitive barbecues. It was a risk that is paying off, because she has won seven world championships. Cookston opened its first restaurant, Memphis Barbecue Company, in 2011. Since then she has written two cookbooks and has opened three restaurants.

Melissa Cookston, owner and pitmaster of Memphis Barbecue Company in Horn Lake, Miss., Was featured in the magazine Southern Living as one of the most influential women in the barbecue. (Photo: Robbie Caponetto / Southern Living)

The article, titled & # 39; Women on Fire & # 39 ;, can be viewed at

George & # 39; s Barbecue in Collierville has a new owner

George & # 39; s Barbecue at 890 W. Poplar Ave. in Collierville has a new owner and general manager.

According to new general manager Jamez Dickerson, Charles "Chuck" Williams took ownership of the barbecue shop in the area on January 1st. From Louisville, Kentucky, Williams also owns two other barbecue restaurants in Tennessee. Dickerson said that someone is in Nashville and the other in Murfreesboro.

"Our goal is to make George better as a restaurant and a company," says Dickerson, explaining that the plans for the company include an updated menu with better recipes, a website and delivery services. The restaurant recently registered with Uber Eats and negotiated with DoorDash.

Dickerson brings almost ten years experience in restaurants and smoking meat to his new function. He worked eight years for One & Only Barbecue before coming to George this year.

"Our specialty is our breast," Dickerson said. "It is so soft that it just falls apart."

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram on @cookwjennifer.

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