Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown – News & Recap 2014

Hey Toronto Foodies,

Mark your calendar and start the countdown! Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is coming back for another year. The competition will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at the Fermenting Cellar in Distillery District (28 Distillery Lane). If you haven’t been to this event before, it is about chefs competing against one another for the title of Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. Attending guests and judges sample and determine the winner from all the chowder and beer pairings with guests voting for People’s Choice and the judging panel determining the Chowdown Champion.

All proceeds directly support Ocean Wise, a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. According to their website, the list of participating restaurants are: BrassaiiBruce Wine BarThe Ceili Cottage with Patrick McMurrayEarls Kitchen + BarEast Thirty SixEPIC at the Fairmont Royal YorkFresco’s Fish and ChipsHawthorne Food & DrinkThe Healthy ButcherHookedPORT RestaurantPure Spirits Oyster House & GrillTaverna Mercatto.

Note: This is a 19+ event. For more information and tickets, click HERE!

Now, onto my short recap for last year’s competition. Here’s last year’s list of participating restaurants with their chowders (in order of tasting stations):

  1. Pearl Diver – Shucker Paddy’s Triple Clam Chowder
  2. La Brassiere at Crowne Plaza – Saffron Infused Fisherman’s Catch Chowder
  3. Earl’s Kitchen and Bar –  Crawfish & Corn Chowder
  4. Hooked – Thai Mussel Chowder
  5. Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill – Grilled Corn & Clam “Suho” Chowder
  6. Mercatto Trattoria –  Chef Doug’s Clam Chowder
  7. John & Sons Oyster House – Crab & Cauliflower Chowder
  8. Brassaii – Smoked Clod Clarified Dungeness Crab Chowder
  9. Horizons Restaurant – Millstreet Belgium Wit, Ontario Brie & Lake Superior Trout Chowder
  10. FishBar – Coconut Curry Crab Chowder
  11. Hapa Izakaya – Sake Umami Chowder

The Champion title went to Chef Kendall Collingridge of Hooked with his Thai Mussel Chowder and the People’s Choice award went to Chef Thomas Heitz of Horizons Restaurant at Centennial College with his Millstreet Belgium Wit, Ontario Brie & Lake Superior Trout Chowder .

My personal thoughts? 

This is the third time I have gone to this event, as always it is fun and chowder filled. Just how I like it. For my personal picks, last year I really liked the chowders from Brassaii and John & Sons Oyster House.

Also, I remembered the event itself became very busy towards the end of the night. Some foodies (myself included) had to get creative and make a chowder holder with our wine glass. Haha. Actually ingenious if you think about it, as media I’m usually performing a mini circus act juggling my professional camera, cell phone, comment card, and a pen/pencil on top of a drink and chowder sample.

With new restaurants joining the competition this year, definitely curious to see who will take the title this time.

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