It’s already been a cooler-than-typical summer, and with this fall in Ontario being downright chilly so far, the notion of warm, sustainable seafood chowders is music to the ears.

Thankfully, the annual Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise™ Chowder Chowdown is back on November 4, when 13 top chefs from the Greater Toronto area will face off in what has become Toronto’s best-known seafood chowder competition.

These Ocean Wise chefs are competing head-to-head with their original, ocean-friendly seafood chowders for the title of 2014 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. Event guests will have the rich opportunity to taste each delectable sustainable chowder and local craft beers, and cast their vote for their favourite chowder, all in support of sustainable seafood.

The annual competition is just one way that Toronto-area foodies and do-gooders can actively participate in elevating awareness of overfishing and poor fishing practices – which Ocean Wise considers the biggest issues facing our seafood stocks today. “We hope that inviting the Toronto community to celebrate sustainable seafood with us at this event will create momentum for even more people to make seafood choices that will help save our oceans, rivers and lakes for generations to come,” says Ann-Marie Copping, Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise manager.

In addition to the People’s Choice award, selected by event guests, a panel of esteemed judges will decide which chef leaves this year’s event with the title of Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. This year’s line-up of competing Ocean Wise chefs include:

Chef Doug Neigel, Trattoria Mercatto (defending  Judges’ Choice champion)

• Chef Marcus Monteiro, Brassaii

Chef Edward Bang, Fishbar

• Chef Patrick McMurray, Pearl Diver (formerly known as Starfish Oyster Bed)

• Chef Alyssa Becker, John & Sons Oyster House

• Chef Tony Fernandes, Crown Plaza La Brasserie Restaurant

• Chef Jonathan Viau, Pure Spirits Oyster House

• Chef Kendall Collingridge, Hooked Inc.

• Chef Takumi Saito, Hapa Izakaya

• Chef Jaret Flannigan, Charcoal Steakhouse

• Chef Thomas Heitz, Centennial College

• Chef Domenic Colacci, formerly from Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club 

• Chef Ibrahim Tams, Earls King Street

Tickets and additional information are now available online at vanaqua.org/chowdown. Avoid disappointment by purchasing your tickets early to this delicious event with a cause!

This year’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown in Toronto is made possible with the support of Distillery Events and Allseas Fisheries Corp.

Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise™

Overfishing is the single biggest threat our oceans face today. Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. www.oceanwise.ca.