Thanks to our wonderful partners, Chowderfest 2013 was a great success!
Eight chefs put their best efforts forward and created some innovative dishes for nearly 500 people. Their delicious chowders, which featured local and responsible seafood, raised more than $4,000 for Seafood for the Future so we can continue our efforts to promote responsible seafood choices in Southern California.
The top three chowders were awarded by a panel of judges. In addition, Chowderfest guests voted via Facebook for the People’s Choice Awards.
Judging the competition was:
Peter Halmay – President of the Sea Urchin Harvesters Association/Commercial Sea Urchin Diver
Chef Paddy Glennon – Founder and President of the Culinary Liberation Front
Russ Parsons – Los Angeles Times Food Editor
Lori Perkins – Education Interpretation Manager at the Aquarium of the Pacific
All of the judges agreed that this was a tough competition and we actually had to postpone judging so they could go back for seconds to make a final decision.
The judges and the People’s Choice agreed on the First Place Award. Chef Pete Lehmar of Gladstone’s Long Beach used responsibly farmed mussels from Carlsbad Aquafarm to create a delicious award-winning chowder. Could his secret ingredient be the Hollandaise sauce?
Second Place was awarded to Chef Art Gonzalez from Roe. Restaurant and Fish Market. Chef Art served up a tasty chowder duet featuring sea urchin and California spot prawns. The urchins were caught in Santa Barbara by Fisherman Stephanie Mutz of Sea Stephanie Fish. Spot prawns were caught by San Pedro fisherman Chris Hoaflinger.
Chef Paul Buchanan’s chowder received Second Place from the People’s Choice votes and Third Place from the judges. Chef Paul of Primal Alchemy teamed up with Fisherman Scott Breneman of West Caught Fish Company to feature sablefish in his Thai Curry Chowder. This spicy chowder was packed with flavor and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
Tied for Third Place in the People’s Choice Award was Chef Robin Higa of Market Broiler. He brought California Dungeness crab to Southern California to compete with his delicious chowder. Bacon, heavy cream, and Weiser Family Farm potatoes gave this chowder its rich flavor and smooth texture.
Chef Michael Poompan’s “escargot” chowder also came in Third in the People’s Choice votes. Chef Michael, from SIP Lounge at the Renaissance in Long Beach, used responsibly harvested Kellet’s whelk from Santa Barbara fisherman Stephanie Mutz. Crispy fried leeks and smoked Weiser potatoes added a nice crunch and extra flavor.
Chef Brian Hirsty of the Bluewater Grill used our local, clawless California spiny lobster to make his chowder creation. A portion of the spiny lobster was donated by the Santa Barbara Fish Market. This tomato-based chowder was creamy and smooth.
Chef Curtis Mar from Parkers’ Lighthouse teamed up with Ventura fisherman Jason Woods to create a curry chowder featuring well-managed (but probably less well known) rock crabs. His special ingredients – edamame and sweet potatoes – gave this chowder terrific flavor and texture.
SAVOR… competed “island style” with a Carribean Chowder featuring local rock fish, white seabass, California halibut, and sablefish. The coconut milk gave this chowder a smooth, yet satisfying finish.
A number of local organizations also helped make Chowderfest a great event by providing information and education to participants as they enjoyed the chowders. Many thanks to:
A Sustainable Kitchen
Fish Contamination Education Collaborative
Gladys Urban Farm
Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles
U.S. Green Building Council – Los Angeles
Weiser Family Farms
And of course we could not have pulled it off without our wonderful sponsors:
- Weiser Family Farms
- The Gazette Newspapers
- Carlsbad Aquafarm
- Santa Barbara Fish Market
- Bluewater Grill
A good time was had by all. We hope you will join us next year for Chowderfest 2014! Until then, visit Seafoodforthefuture.org/Cuisine for these and more responsible seafood recipes.