Jessica and I joined lots of Calgarians at Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown 2013. In addition to trying out 11 top chef’s creations in one stop, we went to support sustainable seafood. What a fun experience! What a great way to showcase sustainable ingredients. It sure got people talking and spreading the awareness of a more responsible way of life.
Chowder is such a comfort food especially on a cold day, or 6 months of winter in our case. We learned a few tricks from the pros as we savoured and appreciated the imagination poured into all 11 chowder creations tonight. Ready to spice up your winter?
1. Pork rind is a fantastic substitute for bread or cracker in your chowder.
Tonight’s Chowder created by Chef Paul Mcgeevy of CRAFT Beer Market won the Best Paring with beer. This grey cod, chorizo 7 chicharon chowder was topped with an oversized super crispy pork grind.
2. Vegetable chips such as kale chips are also brilliant alternative to bread or cracker for your next chowder.
Chef Rebecca House of Thompsons topped her Smoked Salmon Chowder with kale chips and it won tonight’s People’s Choice title. Chef Andrew Keen of Redwater Grill added a splash of colour and texture to his Pacific Oyster & Parsnip Chowder with vegetable chips.
3. Devonshire cream can be used to add richness and flavour to your chowder.
Yes, devonshire cream commonly used with tea scones is proven to perform wonders in Chef Dustin Schafer‘s Smoked Salmon and Candied Scallop Chowder tonight. He dropped a dollop of devonshire cream mixed with roasted sweet corns in the cup before pouring over steaming hot chowder to complete the serving. I was in heaven.
4. Okra adds body to none cream based chowder.
For those who are lactose intolerant, creamy chowder can be a dangerous craving. Chef Darren Maclean‘s DTF Modern Chowder was the only chowder without cream tonight. He used okra to add body to his creation. It’s such a surprising and genius modification to a chowder. The bold and memorable flavor won tonight’s Best Chowder!
5. Cheese kills the heat.
There were a few spicy chowders tonight, mostly curry spices. A big cheese station offering generous portion of Asiago, Brie and Goat cheeses was placed half way down the lineup of chowder stations. It sure was a great relief to prepare us in challenging all of the full-flavored chowders tonight.