One of the most fun annual culinary competitions for a cause, the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown took place in Toronto and Calgary this past week.
In Toronto and for the second year in a row, chefs Chris Torgis and Joel Gray of the Thornbury-based restaurant, Bruce Wine Bar, were crowned the 2017 Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chowdown champions with their patriotic "Canada 150" coast-to-coast-inspired chowder. Torgis and Gray's chowder was brimming with plenty of sustainable seafood, including Ontario farmed whiteleg shrimp, Gulf of St. Lawrence crab, Lake Huron smoked whitefish and wild Pacific ikura, served up in a by local corn velouté with wild leek pesto and pickled roots.
Over in Calgary, River Cafe's executive chef, Matthias Fong and his team beat out the local competition with a cool (literally) twist on the soup, serving a chilled Manhattan clam chowder. His creation offered bacon sabayon, clam nectar gelée and tomato jam.
"This event is a celebration of the amazing culinary scenes Ontario [and Alberta] has to offer and the people who have helped it grow, including food lovers, industry leaders and chef partners," said Ann-Marie Copping, Ocean Wise seafood program manager. "Everyone there is united in their support of sustainable seafood, helping to ensure our oceans are healthy and flourishing for generations to come."
Since its creation in 2005 in Vancouver, Ocean Wise is now a nationally recognized sustainable seafood program, used by many of the country's top restaurants as well as diners to make ocean-friendly choices while dining out in major Canadian cities.
Vancouver's 10th annual Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown takes place this coming week, and to celebrate the milestone, the special "All-stars" competition will feature past years' winners, including chef Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar and Ned Bell of the Vancouver Aquarium.