Seadrift Fishmarket owner and chef Christine Quetschke

Seadrift Fishmarket owner and chef Christine Quetschke

Chowder competition seeks best in city

NANAIMO – More than a dozen teams to take part in inaugural event at Country Club Centre.

Chowder recipes are being cooked up by Nanaimo chefs Saturday (Sept. 20) as they work to catch the top title in this year’s inaugural Seafood Chowder Competition.

More than a dozen competitors will dish out tastes of their best seafood chowders at Country Club Centre in the bid to take home this year’s chowder leader crown.

The contest, hosted by Lucky’s Liquor Store and Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, is all about bringing awareness and support to local restaurants, according to Lucky’s project coordinator Jodie Robertshaw, who says a similar contest used to be held by the Nanaimo Museum.

“We’re a harbour city, we’re right on the water and we don’t have any of these seafood events,” said Robertshaw. “We’re hoping this is kind of the flagship for a bigger seafood event, not just a chowder competition.”

There will be a panel of six judges critiquing recipes for flavour and local ingredients, as well as a people’s choice award. There are no rules per se, as long as it’s chowder Robertshaw said, adding chefs should just come with a couple of large pots of the best they can make.

Tia Hill, manager of Seadrift Fishmarket, is counting on access to the freshest fish in town to give it an edge over the competition. It will be cooking its shrimp curry and seafood chowders.

“In my opinion, we don’t stand having any problems with our competition,” she said.

And she’s not the only one feeling confident.

Mike Campbell, co-owner of Longwood Brew Pub, says he and his chef plan to serve Longwood’s Irish Ale Seafood Chowder, which has been getting rave reviews since it was first introduced to the menu about a year ago.

“We use our Irish ale beer on tap to make it. It’s got mussels, cod, wild salmon, a bunch of seafoods in it and it’s just delicious,” he said. “We get feedback constantly that it’s like the best so yeah, that’s giving us a lot of confidence.”

The competition will feature live entertainment, face painting and a bouncy castle. Twelve chowder samples will cost $12 and can be purchased at Lucky’s or the Chamber of Commerce on Bowen Road. Tickets, including individual samplers, can also be purchased at the event between 11 a.m and 3 p.m.