Monday, November 25, 2013

Forage's Chris Whittaker Snags Top Chowder Prize, Chef Ned Bell Wins People's Choice Award

Creamy BC Spot Prawn Chowder by Chef Chris Whittaker
What a wonderful celebration for Executive Chef Chris Whittaker. On the one-year anniversary of opening Forage in Vancouver's West End, Whittaker once again earned the title of Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion.

Whittaker was among 13 Ocean Wise chefs from British Columbia who competed in the ocean-friendly seafood chowder contest at the Vancouver Aquarium on November 20, 2013. His Wild BC Spot Prawn Chowder took first place among the other competitors, including executive chefs from Vancouver's Fairmont and Four Season Hotels, Edible Canada, Coast and C Restaurant. 

His dish, Creamy BC Spot Prawn Chowder, featured the classic flavors of smoked pork hock, white wine and thyme, and was finished with a soft boiled quail egg and pork crackling. It's been on the menu at Forage since Whittaker's initial win last year. "This chowder is so popular that I wanted to keep it on the menu," said Whittaker. "I took a chance and used the same recipe for this year's competition, so it will stay on the menu -- at least for this year!"
Executive Chef Chris Whittaker of Forage
The celebrity judges sampled each chowder, as did the 600 people who attended the event. Ned Bell of YEW Restaurant + Bar was selected as the winner of the People's Choice award. His chowder, The Big Red, was composed of humpback shrimp, pink peppercorn cream and BC Cranberry & Okanagan Apple Relish. Bell's award-winning chowder is currently on the menu at YEW (at the Four Seasons Vancouver).

Beer was also an important element of the evening, and Chef Paul Cecconi of Brodo Kitchen and Catering with CodFathers Seafood Market won the award for best pairing: Outlandish Mussel-Saffron Chowder paired with Red Racer ESB beer by Central City Brewers and Distillers. 

Judges for the sixth annual event were:
  • Guy Dean - Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Albion Fisheries Ltd.
  • Rob  Clark - Co-owner of The Fish Counter and Ocean Wise chef partner
  • Chester Carey - Serious Beer program instructor and certified cicerone
  • Sid Cross - Food and wine aficionado
  • Andrew Morrison - Founder of Scout Magazine
  • Tim Pawsey - Food and wine journalist
  • Jamie Maw - Food and wine journalist
November is Ocean Wise month, and consumers are invited to join the sustainable seafood movement by eating ocean-friendly seafood to keep the oceans healthy. 

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