It’s now the beginning of October, which for Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program means one thing: Ocean Wise month in November is just around the corner, and along with it, the highly anticipated 2012 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown competition, taking place in Toronto and Vancouver on Nov. 21. Can you feel our excitement?!

A dozen chefs have just been selected to compete in each city, and we here at Ocean Wise can hardly wait to dip our spoons into 12 original (and delicious) chowder recipes, paired with craft beers. We invite you to do the same – tickets are on sale right now. Last year’s event in Vancouver sold out, and tickets in Toronto sold quickly, so get your tickets early this year to avoid disappointment!

Without further ado (but with a virtual drum roll), below is the line-up of Ocean Wise chefs who will contend for the winning title of Toronto’s 2012 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion:

  • Chef Albert Ponzo | Le Select Bistro
  • Chef Patrick McMurray | Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill
  • Chef Shaun Edmonstone | Bruce Wine Bar
  • Chef David Kokai | Loic Gourmet
  • Chef Morgan Wilson | Trios Bistro at the Toronto Downtown Marriott Eaton Centre
  • Chef Amira Becarevic | EPIC at the Fairmont Royal York
  • Chef Daiji Tanaka | Hapa Izakaya
  • Chef Kristin Donovan | Hooked
  • Chef Frank Byrne | Fishbar
  • Chef Thomas Heitz | Port Restaurant
  • Chef Reuben Major | Earls Kitchen and Bar
  • Chef Alexandra Gaponovitch | Calphalon Culinary Centre
  • Chef Stacey Blois | Western University Canada

The competition will be no less fierce (although still as friendly) in Vancouver, which will feature the following Ocean Wise chefs competing for the same title, but on the West Coast:

  • Chefs Alessandro Vianello and Michael Carter| Street Meet
  • Chef Dana Hauser| Herons – The Fairmont Waterfront
  • Chef Tom Lee | Edible Canada at the Market
  • Chef Todd Bright| Wild Rice
  • Chef Alex Tung | Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria
  • Chef Troung Minh Xong| Kamei Royale Japanese Restaurant
  • Chef Frank Gort | Showcase Restaurant and Bar – Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle
  • Chef Nathan Tower| Savoury Chef Foods
  • Chef Chris Whittaker| Forage – Listel Hotel
  • Chef Eric Pless| Coast Restaurant
  • Chef Warren Mercier| Vancouver Aquarium
  • Chef Derek Bendig| Hotel Eldorado

As an attendee, you will get the chance to savour all of the seafood chowder and beer parings and vote on your favorite, all while supporting seafood sustainability and the Ocean Wise program. Don’t end up on the sidelines drooling! We’ll see you there.

This event would not have been possible without the generous support of presenting sponsors Rickard’s and Granville Island Brewing. We’d also like to recognize Allseas Fisheries Corporation and Albion Fisheries Ltd. for providing our competing chefs with Ocean Wise seafood, and our Vancouver media sponsor CTV.

Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program is a national seafood sustainability program committed to educating consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item for Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice.