CHEFS CHRIS TORGIS AND JOEL GRAY OF BRUCE WINE BAR TAKE HOME TOP PRIZES AT VANCOUVER AQUARIUM’S OCEAN WISE® CHOWDER CHOWDOWN
It was a hot night at the Fermenting Cellar in The Distillery District, as top chefs from 12 Ocean Wise partner restaurants put their best ladle forward at the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown. This annual event, which takes place during Ocean Wise Month, brings together some of the region’s culinary heavyweights as they vie to have their chowder recipe be crowned the winner.
This year, a judging panel of food-savvy media and esteemed chefs selected Chefs Chris Torgis and Joel Gray of Thornbury’s Bruce Wine Bar as the 2016 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. The judging panel was wowed by the chef team’s New England Corn and Smoked Whitefish Chowder. Featuring fresh herbs, pickled potatoes, whitefish roe and a corn tortilla ash, the chowder had the crowd buzzing and their mouths watering. Bruce Wine Bar also took home the People’s Choice Award, selected by hundreds of chowder lovers who cast their vote.
I can't believe I actually missed trying the winning Chowder, probably because there were so many people around their table that we didn't get near it. We tried every other Chowder except for the the GeoDuck, sorry guys, I wasn't feeling that adventurous. We literally worked up a sweat with all the hot Chowder sampling. But I have to say that our favourite was the very first one we tried and then we went back for it again for our last one just to make sure. That one was from the Chase Fish & Oyster.
To cool down after the hot chowders there was a delicious selection of beverages including bright white wine from Whitehaven Winery and the perfect, sustainable caesar from partner Walter Caesar.
Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown in Toronto showcased 12 top Ocean Wise chefs in total, who all joined the sustainable seafood movement by bringing the heat to this friendly competition. Chowders featured an impressive array of seafood, from octopus to geoduck. A list of participating chefs and beverage partners can be found here.
This year’s panel of distinguished judges was:
· Chef Martin Kouprie, The Globe Restaurant
· Chef Brad Long, Café Belong
· Liora Ipsum, Food Editor, The Daily Hive
· David Ort, Post City Magazine
Ocean Wise began as a grassroots movement in Vancouver in 2005 and is now Canada’s most recognizable sustainable seafood program. What began as an initiative involving 16 chefs has expanded to include more than 675 partners with locations from Victoria to St. John’s. In addition to Chowder Chowdown in Toronto, Ocean Wise Month is being celebrated with similar events in Vancouver, Calgary and Wolfville and partners across Canada are sharing their stories about sustainability using the hashtag #OceanWiseMonth.
This year’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown in Toronto was made possible with the support of Seacore Seafood Inc. and Distillery Events.
The reason I was really excited to go was because I think that Ocean Wise has been doing some great work getting the message about how important it is to think about buying Ocean Wise approved sustainable fish. Why is it so important? They research the species that are in danger of becoming over fished to the point of forever changing the balance of the Oceans and having all of the different species survive which keeps the planet in good health. It is all connected. The Ocean's eco system has been slowly eroding and if we don't change a few of our habits we will lose species of fish and cause other factors that contribute to Global Warming. Yes it's real and if everyone makes conscious choices about what they eat it could make a huge difference.
For more information about Ocean Wise visit their website: www.oceanwise.ca
For information about the Vancouver Aquarium: www.vanaqua.org