Last night I attended the 12th Annual Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chowdown after a 3 year absence, it was great to be back to try the chowders and see the chefs and their competing teams. It was another great event hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium. This event saw a packed house of 500+ people sampling many or all of the twelve chowders from BC’s top Ocean Wise restaurants from around the Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island, all of the chowders were paired with BC craft brews and the suggested beers (and one cider) were listed along each of the restaurants chowders.
This annual event, which takes place during Ocean Wise Month, brings together some of the region’s culinary heavyweights as they vie to have their chowder recipe be crowned the winner.
This year, a judging panel of food-savvy media and esteemed chefs selected Chef Chris Andraza of Fanny Bay Oysters of Vancouver, as the 2020 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. The judging panel was wowed by the chef team’s Pacific Octopus Chowder. The winner for Best Beer Pairing was actually for their Pear Apple Cider was Lonetree Cider and they were paired with Chef Chris Andraza of Fanny Bay Oysters chowder. Chef Stacey Johnston representing Ocean Wise took home the People’s Choice Award for her Ocean Wise Dungeness Crab Chowder with smokey bacon and kelp, selected by hundreds of chowder lovers who casted their vote.
I tried several of the array of chowders and their suggested beer pairings which included my other favourites Chef Dai Fukasaku of Fukasaku (Prince Rupert) ‘s Northwest Tide’n Fungi Chowder which was paired with Smithers Brewing Co’s Bees Knees; Chef Welbert Choi of Forage (Vancouver) BBQ Duck and Scallop Chowder; Chef Anthony Marzo of Arc Restaurant (Vancouver) PNW Seafood Chowder; and Chef Shallaw Kadir of Fishworks (North Vancouver) Tomato Cucumber Chowder.
Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown showcased 12 top Ocean Wise chefs in total, who all joined the sustainable seafood movement by bringing the heat to this friendly competition. Chowders featured an impressive array of seafood, from Octopus to Sea Urchin.
By: Richard Wolak