Forage Restaurant wins 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown

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After a delicious battle for chowder supremacy at the Vancouver Aquarium, defending champion chef Chris Whittaker of Forage Restaurant again earned the title of 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver at the sold-out, annual event.

Thirteen top Ocean Wise chefs from British Columbia joined the sustainable seafood movement at the ever-popular Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown by presenting their best, ocean-friendly seafood chowders, paired with beers, to an eager crowd of 600 people. A panel of celebrity judges sampled each mouth-watering chowder and crowned chef Chris Whittaker of Forage as 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver. After indulging their taste buds in all 13 Ocean Wise chowders, guests at the event chose chef Ned Bell of YEW Restaurant + Bar as the winner of the People’s Choice award.

Chef Whittaker impressed the judges’ panel for the second year in a row with his enticing recipe for Creamy B.C. Spot Prawn Chowder, featuring the classic flavours of bacon, white wine and thyme, and finished with smokey chicharon and poached egg.

Chef Bell’s choice of Ocean Wise humpback shrimp, pink peppercorn cream and BC Cranberry & Okanagan Apple Relish culminated in a mouth-watering chowder named The Big Red, which won the crowd’s allegiance with ease. Chef Paul Cecconi of Brodo Kitchen and Catering with CodFathers Seafood Market won the award for best pairing – Outlandish Mussel-Saffron Chowder paired with Red Racer ESB beer by Central City Brewers and Distillers.

“As the sold-out nature of this event demonstrates each year, the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is a fun and delicious way to celebrate sustainable seafood,” says Ann-Marie Copping, Ocean Wise manager at the Vancouver Aquarium. “Overfishing is the single biggest threat our oceans face today. In fact, we’re already fishing the last 10 per cent of all large, predatory fish from our oceans. It’s heartening to bring together our sustainability-conscious chefs and suppliers to share their passion with consumers who deeply care about the health of our oceans. We are so grateful to our partners, participants and guests for their support.”

This year’s sixth annual Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown in Vancouver showcased 13 top Ocean Wise chefs who joined the sustainable seafood movement by competing head to head in this friendly competition. Their original, ocean-friendly seafood chowders were paired with beers that highlighted each chowder’s flavour profile. The diverse ingredients of the chowders ran the spectrum, from Ocean Wise Dungeness crab chowder with salmon bacon to Ocean Wise smoked oysters and chanterelle chowder. A list of participating chefs and their bios can be found here.

This year’s panel of distinguished judges included:

  • Guy Dean – Vice president and chief sustainability officer, Albion Fisheries Ltd.
  • Rob Clark – Co-owner of The Fish Counter and Ocean Wise chef partner
  • Chester Carey – Serious Beer program instructor and certified cicerone
  • Sid Cross – Food and wine aficionado
  • Andrew Morrison – Founder of Scout Magazine
  • Tim Pawsey – Food and wine journalist
  • Jamie Maw – Food and wine journalist

During Ocean Wise month in November, consumers are invited to join the sustainable seafood movement by eating ocean-friendly seafood to keep our oceans healthy. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item for the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice.

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