Chowder Chowdown 2012

With Ocean Wise‘s annual Chowder Chowdown hitting Toronto’s Distillery District this coming Tuesday the 19th, we spoke to some of the competing Chefs to discover what tasty treasures were in store for all ticket holders. Tickets are still available here.

Good Food Revolution: Why did you choose to participate in Ocean Wise’s Chowder Chowdown and what does Ocean Wise mean to you?

Maxine Knight (The Healthy Butcher): The Healthy Butcher has always been about Sustainable Meats. The Oceanwise program has allowed us to extend our sustainable selection to include fish and seafood. The Chowder Chowdown is a great opportunity to showcase some amazing fresh seafood in a fun environment and compete with some of the city’s best chef’s!

Charlotte Langley (Catch): I love supporting Ocean Wise and have been doing so for as long as I have been aware of there organization. I strongly believe in the education of our fish future, aqua culture techniques etc. If I can help promote that, than I’m in. That’s why I chose to compete. Ocean wise is a hub of educational resources and wherewithal, I can get behind that.

Sonia Potichnyj and Alyssa Becker (John & Sons Oyster House): We chose to participate in the event because we think it is so important to inform people of the choices they have when it comes to buying food.  It’s interesting, people are inundated with the words “sustainable, and “organic” and “farm raised” and “Natural” but at the same time it paralyzes consumers when they choose to buy and they end up making that buying decision on convenience rather than what is better for the planet.  As a someone who runs a restaurant and business I feel it is important to make decisions every day that will not leave a “footprint” as well as offer our clients healthy food that was harvested the correct way. This Chowdown helps promote Ocean Wise and educate the public on those buying decisions and we are a lare supporte of Ocean Wise.

Thomas Heitz (Port Restaurant): Ocean Wise is a great organization that is being responsible and looking into future generations of sustainable seafood for everyone to enjoy.  We all want to promote sustainable seafood and  Ocean Wise has become a great ambassador; giving restaurants and other food organizations the tools and choice to ensure sustainable seafood on their menus. They have been consistent in their practices and provide detailed information making my life easier.

Leanne English (Sodexo): I chose to participate in the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown as I believe it is a great awareness initiative. People need to be aware of the state of our oceans and choosing sustainable seafood will help replenish them. I am very pleased to be representing Sodexo at the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown, during Ocean Wise Month. I am also happy to be competing with such a talented group.

Doug Neigal (Mercatto): I choose to participate in the Chowder Chowdown to do our part in getting the sustainable message out there and to help raise funds for Ocean Wise. To me Ocean Wise is the best option for a guide to sustainability, they are non profit and they are very helpful with finding supportive suppliers.

Ibrahim Tams (Earls): The event is a great way to support the fight  and build awareness about sustainable seafood in a fun, interactive forum.  Ocean Wise to me means making sure I know where the product I am using comes from and that it is sustainable.  Overfishing is the greatest threat to our oceans today and only using ocean wise products is my way of supporting the cause.

Patrick McMurray (Starfish): I love to go out and promote Sustainable Seafood, as it is something very important for future generation to take care of their environment – including the ocean, and as a Shucker of a certain age, and Ownner of a restaurant, I have a ability (and responsibility) to tell customers what they are going to eat and why – by putting it on my menu.

This is a great way of promoting as well – everyone loves chowder! AND I get to hang out with Jamie Drummond, one of the nicest, and might I add Handsome, Chowder Judges in the World…..

Siobhan Dolan AKA Chef D (The Sweet Potato): We have always tried to actively source our fish and seafood from ethical suppliers and whenever possible, even local farms and fisheries where we are familiar with their practices, and could ensure our customers were getting top quality catch. After joining the Ocean Wise program we were able to provide further assurance that the products we carry are not just natural, healthy and sometimes local, but also environmentally sound. Along with our customers, we care greatly for the environment and the sustainability of our food system. Our partnership with Ocean Wise has broadened our knowledge of proper fishing practices which has helped us bring awareness to the public.

We are thrilled to be apart of the Chowder Chowdown this year. We may not be a high-end restaurant, but we have our own amazing in-house Chef that has been cooking up Ocean Wise chowders, soups and stews for Fishy Friday all year… and getting rave reviews. We knew we had to join in on the competition!

Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown 2012

Good Food Revolution: What can we expect to see with your entry? Can you give us a sneaky peek into what you’ll be making?

Maxine Knight (The Healthy Butcher): A classic chowder with a hint of bacon smokeyness.

Charlotte Langley (Catch): Having spent the majority of my life in PEI. I am a sucker for traditional comforts. Especially this time of year. Expect a classic.

Sonia Potichnyj and Alyssa Becker (John & Sons Oyster House): We are entering our New England Clam Chowder that we sell at the restaurants, we stand behind the chowder we serve to customers, why would we offer anything else?  We have entered a few competitions with the food we serve at the restaurants and done quite well, we feel our food on our menu could compete on any level, I don’t know why people would offer anything else than what is on their menu.

Thomas Heitz (Port Restaurant): Chowder is such a personal thing and everyone has a version on what they call the best chowder.  So what we have done is taken the ever popular New England Clam Chowder and fused it together with another known popular dish……The Bangers & Mash to make a New England Banger & Clam Chowder.  The sausage and clams work in perfect harmony offering a great depth of flavor.

Leanne English (Sodexo): Being born and raised in the Maritimes, it is only fitting that I have honored my roots by calling it Maritime Chowder. There are many variations but you will find with my recipe has a distinct flavour profile. I have prepared the Chowder using a crisp dry white wine and finished with the peppery spiciness of Tabasco sauce and the tanginess of fresh dill. Most importantly, I have included a variety of sustainable seafood which taste wonderful and you can feel great about enjoying it as you are doing your part to help heal our Oceans.

Doug Neigal (Mercatto): We are making a chowder using Ontario parsnip and Squash to give local twist, and change the flavour profile a bit. For a note to Italian cuisine and to balance the sweet we are garnishing with a polenta crusted clam fried in pork fat, and have added some prosciutto ends into the soup.

Ibrahim Tams (Earls): You can expect a little heat balanced by rich, full flavours.  Do you like oysters?  If so, you will love this dish!

Patrick McMurray (Starfish): This year we are gettin Crabby – B.C. Dungeness crab and corn chowder! still working on the presentation and final touches – but I’m thinking smoke as well…gonna tweek as the product arrives, gonna shuck a few Oysters as well, might just end up in the Chowdah…if you ask nice.

Siobhan Dolan AKA Chef D (The Sweet Potato): Being a natural health food store, we try and make delicious and healthy dishes that cater to specific dietary needs. Our entry is not only gluten-free and dairy-free, but all of the ingredients used come from our store and are 100% organic (along with the beautiful Ocean Wise fish donated for the event). It’s sure to make a splash 🙂

Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown 2012

Good Food Revolution: And have you found the perfect drinks pairing for it yet?

Maxine Knight (The Healthy Butcher): I will be pairing my chowder with Moosehead Boundary Ale

Charlotte Langley (Catch): As soon as I had the opportunity to choose my pairing I jumped on Beaus! I’ll never forget the first time I tasted that beer in Ottawa and seeing them grow to be such an amazing business. Love that family and I am tweaking my recipe to suit there beer,hopefully to a T.

Being born and raised in the Maritimes, it is only fitting that I have honoured my roots by calling it Maritime Chowder.

There are many variations but you will find with my recipe has a distinct flavor profile. I have prepared the Chowder using a crisp dry white wine and finished with the peppery spiciness of Tabasco sauce and the tanginess of fresh dill. Most importantly, I have included a variety of sustainable seafood which taste wonderful and you can feel great about enjoying it as you are doing your part to help heal our Oceans.

Sonia Potichnyj and Alyssa Becker (John & Sons Oyster House): We have paired our Chowder with Creemore’s Mad and Noisy Hops and Bolts, we wanted something a little hoppier, its November and  Chowder, it will be like Love and Marriage.

Thomas Heitz (Port Restaurant): We have paired our chowder with Steam Whistle Pilsner.  It is clean and crisp and help cuts through the creaminess refreshing your palate every time.  We have worked with Steam whistle over the years and happy to have a great beer paired with a great chowder

Leanne English (Sodexo): I did!  I have chosen to pair my “Maritime Chowder” with Double Trouble’s Hops and Robbers Golden IPA. I think the rich character and the combination of lemon, pineapple and toasty caramel flavours will perfectly compliment the taste of my Maritime Chowder.

Doug Neigal (Mercatto): We have chosen the Prison break Pilsener to pair with the chowder. It has subtle hops, and clean citrus finish which should balance the richness of the chowder.

Ibrahim Tams (Earls): Yes, Muskoka’s Cream Ale has smooth flavours that pairs perfectly with the spicy rich essence of my chowder.

Patrick McMurray (Starfish): We are working with the Beau’s Night Marzen – an Oktoberfest Lager…delightfully Fall styled, and great with the chowdah!

Siobhan Dolan AKA Chef D (The Sweet Potato): It couldn’t be more perfect! Let’s just say we are going with a Tropical theme, and the pineapple and citrus notes of our selected brew with be a perfect match to our chowder!

Jamie Drummond - Good Food RevolutionEdinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he is looking forward to Tuesday’s Chowder Chowdown… See you there!