Vancouver, BC – Spoons were out, ladles were full of chowder and beer was flowing at the Vancouver Aquarium last night, as 13 notable chefs from Ocean Wise seafood partner restaurants brought their best recipe to the table at the Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chowdown: All-Star Edition. Each November during Ocean Wise Seafood Month, this event brings together some of the region’s top stars and sustainability champions.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the event, and the All-Star Edition brought back past winners from near and far. Each competing chef had at least one Chowder Chowdown title to their name, and for the first time ever, chefs from outside B.C. participated. Chef Doug Neigel of Mercatto in Toronto and Jennifer Jaewon Kim of Thomsons Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Calgary flew in to battle it out with their fellow partners.
A judging panel of food-savvies selected Chef Julian Bond and team as the 2017 Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chowdown Champions. They presented chowder lovers with a colourful twist, serving their Witches Brew chowder with a pea base and delicious bites of bacon and B.C. sidestripe shrimp — a combo that left the judges wanting more. Chef Julian was the 2017 winner of Devour! Osoyoos’s Ocean Wise Chowder Competition.
The award for Best Beer Pairing went to Chef Yosuke Okubo of Hapa Izakaya for their Japanese-Style Rhode Island Chowder, which featured a dashi broth and shinjo dumplings made with Ocean Wise little neck clams. In 2010, Hapa Izakaya won both the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards at Chowder Chowdown. This year’s winning dish was paired with R&B Brewing’s Stolen Bike Lager, with smoked green tea, and sake-infused with orange peel and ginger
The crowd of several hundred had their say too, and voted Brodo Kitchen as the People’s Choice Award winner, selected for Chef Paul Cecconi’s Smoked Albacore Tuna Belly Chowder with Truffled Cauliflower Puree, Fennel-Spiced Buckboard Bacon, Confit Sunchoke and Lemonpeel Doughnut, and Pickled Ambrosia Apple and Mustard Seed. Chef Paul was the 2011 Judge’s Choice Chowder Champion and took home the prize for Best Beer Pairing that year too. For his win this year, he took home a beautiful knife courtesy of Knifewear.
“This event is a celebration of the amazing culinary scene in Vancouver and beyond and the people who have helped it grow, including food lovers, industry leaders and chef partners. After 10 years of Chowder Chowdowns, we are still in awe of the dedication of the chef teams and the ongoing support from the crowds that turn out,” said Ann-Marie Copping, Ocean Wise seafood program manager. “The energy in the room was palpable, as guests buzzed about their favourite chowders and cast their votes for the top prizes. Everyone there is united in their support of sustainable seafood, helping to ensure our oceans are healthy and flourishing for generations to come.”
There were breweries from across the province pouring everything from lime pilsner to dark lager. Guests could also quench their thirst with the perfect, sustainable caesar from Ocean Wise seafood partner Walter Caesar and spirits from Wayward Distillation House.
The 13 chowders featured an impressive array of seafood, from smoked Albacore tuna belly to Dungeness crab, and prepared in a variety of ways including Japanese and Vietnamese style-chowder. A list of participating chefs and beverage partners can be found here. Each chef and judge donned sleek new aprons courtesy of Chef Works.
This year’s panel of distinguished judges was:
Hanna McLean, Food Editor, Daily Hive
Nathan Fong, food stylist and Host, Fong on Food
Guy Dean, Chief Sustainability Officer at Albion Farms and Fisheries
Mike McDermid, Co-Owner, The Fish Counter
Sid Cross, Honourary President, International Wine & Food Society
The Ocean Wise seafood program began as a grassroots movement in Vancouver in 2005 and is now Canada’s most recognizable sustainable seafood program. What started as an initiative involving 16 chefs has expanded to include more than 700 partners with locations from Victoria to St. John’s.
Editor’s Note: Photos from Chowder Chowdown are available on request.
Alexis Brown |Ocean Wise | firstname.lastname@example.org |604 659 3777