February has come and gone and what a month it has been! The Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown, held in Vancouver and Toronto, was another huge hit with top Ocean Wise Seafood program partner chefs presenting a wide variety of chowders that impressed judges and guests alike. Read more about the winners of this years Chowder Chowdowns and the participating judges and beverage sponsors below:

Vancouver, BC — Vancouver’s foodies were treated to a delicious duel as some of B.C.’s culinary heavyweights competed in the 12th annual Ocean Wise® Chowder Chowdown at the Vancouver Aquarium on Thursday February 20th. In the end, returning 2019 champion Chef Chris Andraza of Fanny Bay Oyster Bar impressed the judging panel of industry veterans with a bold and bright octopus chowder to once again claim the title of Chowder Chowdown Champion along with best beverage pairing.

“This event is such an inspiring and fun way to showcase sustainable seafood,” said Sophika Kostyniuk, Manager of the Ocean Wise Seafood Program. “It’s amazing to see the creativity of our chef partners, and to see the growing support for sustainable seafood and healthy oceans.”

The 12 celebrated chefs and their chowders drew more than 650 people to the event to vote on their favourite dishes and sip on refreshing craft beverage pairings. The best beverage pairing was awarded to Lone Tree for complimenting Andraza’s winning chowder, while Georgian Bay Spirit Co. won best lounge beverage partner.

Ocean Wise Sous Chef Stacy Johnston used her home-court advantage to wow the crowd with a delicious Dungeness crab chowder with smoky bacon and kelp and took home the coveted title of People’s Choice winner.

This year’s panel of distinguished judges was:

  • Chef Rob Clarke, co-owner of the Fish Counter, author, and sustainable seafood leader. Rob helped to grandfather the sustainable seafood movement in Canada.
  • Chef Nathan Fong, award-winning food stylist & journalist and founder of Fong on Food
  • Chef Bobby Milheron, Executive Chef Homer St Café and Tableau
  • Rae Kung, Managing Director of the Chinese Restaurant Awards
  • Joanne Sasvari, lifestyle writer, author and Vancouver Sun Food Writer

As well as Lone Tree, guests were treated to brews and beverages from Whistler Brewing Co., Walter’s Casear with Tito’s Vodka, Stanley Park Brewing, Yellow Dog, Strange Fellows, Driftwood Brewery, Howe Sound Brewing, R&B Brewing, Moosehead, Red Racer, Smithers Brewing Co., Phillips Brewing, The Parkside Brewery,  and Vancouver Island Brewing, Arterra Wines, Georgian Bay Spirit Co. with Smash Gin, Empress Gin and Salt Spring Coffee.

Toronto, ON— Toronto foodies who braved the cold on February 26 were treated to a delicious duel as some of Ontario’s culinary heavyweights competed in the 11th annual Ocean Wise®Chowder Chowdown at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District. In the end, Chef Kellen Crumb and his team from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment impressed the judging panel of industry veterans with a New England style oyster chowder to claim the title of Chowder Chowdown Champion.

“Supporting our incredible partners and bringing passionate foodies out for a great cause definitely makes this event a highlight of the year for us,” said Laura Irvine, Accounts Manager, Ocean Wise Seafood. “It’s an amazing way to escape the cold, enjoy delicious sustainable seafood creations, and raise critical awareness for ocean health.”

The 13 celebrated chefs and their chowders drew almost 350 people to the event to vote on their favourite dishes and sip on refreshing spirits and brews. The People’s Choice award for the best sustainable seafood chowder of the evening  was Chef Dawoon “Danny” Chae from Luma Restaurant.

This year’s panel of distinguished judges included:

  • Rebecca Mackenzie, President and CEO of Culinary Tourism Alliance
  • Brad Long, Executive Chef of Café Belong and Catering
  • Matt Dean Pettit, Founder & President of Matty’s Seafood Co.
  • Charlotte Langley, Chief Culinary Officer of Scout Canning and MSC Chef Ambassador
  • Amy Rosen, Food and Travel writer and freelance journalist

Guests were also treated to delicious local Ontario beverages from Walter Craft Caesar, The Duxbury Cider Co., Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery, Mill Street Brewery, Brick Works Cider House, Boshkung Brewing, Top Shelf Distillers, Bench Brewing Co., Steam Whistle Brewing and Ontarieau.

A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who supports the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown across Canada from the beverage vendors and dedicated chefs to the volunteers and guests!

Overfishing is a major threat to our oceans. Ocean Wise Seafood staff work with restaurants, retailers and suppliers to provide the most recent scientific information on fisheries and aquaculture operations so they can make sustainable purchasing and sourcing decisions. 

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