Oceanwise Chowder Chowdown 2012

All in the name of sustainable seafood, 12 top local chefs from the Toronto area each had booths to serve up their own delicious chowder made from ocean-friendly seafood alongside a beer pairing that was chosen to perfectly suit the chowder’s flavour. Upon check-in, you are given a wooden spoon, a ballot and a checklist describing each of the 12 stations. Guests were able to vote for their favourite to win the People’s Choice Award while the panel of judges would determine the evening’s champion.

This was the 3rd annual Chowder Chowdown and it was a huge turnout at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel barely fitting everyone in the Imperial Room. We found that table space was at a premium so it was challenging during most of the evening to grab a spot to put down the beer sampling while trying the chowder. Although it was much more comfortable than the recent annual Gourmet Food and Wine Expo’s barely-able-to-walk atmosphere.

The celebrity panel of judges included Anthony Walsh (executive chef and partner of Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants), Carl Heinrich, Partner/Executive Chef at Richmond Station and winner of Top Chef Canada Season 2, Rebecca LeHeup (Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance), Jaime Kennedy of Jamie Kennedy Kitchens and Micah Donovan (The Food Jammers).

People’s Choice Award was awarded to Chef Baksh with his Manilla Clam and Seafood Chowder including sturgeon!

People's Choice Winner: Earls Kitchen and Bar-Chef Richard Baksh's Manilla Clam & Seafood ChowderEarls Kitchen and Bar-Chef Richard Baksh's Manilla Clam & Seafood Chowder

People’s Choice Winner: Earls Kitchen and Bar-Chef Richard Baksh’s Manilla Clam & Seafood Chowder Photo: Vanaqua

Chef Albert Ponzo of Le Select Bistro won over the judges with Chef Ponzo’s Seafood Chowder, boasting fresh fall ingredients that are at peak season.

The Judge's winning bowl, Chef Albert Ponzo's Seafood Chowder

The Judge’s winning bowl, Chef Albert Ponzo’s Seafood Chowder Photo: Vanaqua

Chef Albert Ponzo accepting the Judges' Choice award as the 2012 Chowder Chowdown Champion

Chef Albert Ponzo accepting the Judges’ Choice award as the 2012 Chowder Chowdown Champion Photo: Vanaqua

Delicious choices were all around us and it was quite a challenge to try all 12 with such generous portions of chowder and beer at each station.

Definitely do not miss this event next year! Good chowder and beer sampling all-in at an amazing price with all proceeds directly supporting the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program!

Also, if you love Oceanwise, have a look at our Toronto Zoo’s event from June where they held a Seafood for Thought event, also promoting sustainable seafood.

Chef Ponzo with the judges

Chef Ponzo with the judges Photo: Vancouver Ocean Wise Photo: Vanaqua

Everybody wins with the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown: the chefs, the judges, the guests, and especially the oceans from which we all depend upon ecologically. Please keep up the great work, Vancouver Aquarium! Also, be sure to look for the Ocean Wise label at the grocery store or ask for it at your seafood restaurant.

ABOUT OCEANWISE

The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. With over 3,100 Ocean Wise partner locations across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come.
To learn more, please visit www.oceanwise.ca

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