It is nearly impossible to overstate the desperate condition that our most-fished ocean species fnd themselves in. We have taken so many of the larger, top-of-the-chain fish that many of them are very close to being extinct.
Unfortunately, so many are in this endangered or stressed position that beyond Chilean sea bass it's tough to remember which ones, as customers, restauranteurs, and purveryors we should avoid. Into that void comes the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise programme with its seafood items list and restaurant and retail partners.
As part of their efforts to raise funds and awareness, Ocean Wise held their second annual Chowder Chowdown, in which local chefs were challenged to create a sustainable seafood chowder to pair with Mill Street beer. For the second year in a row the event took over the Concert Hall at Toronto's historic Royal York Hotel.
The full list of competing chefs and their restaurants that partner with Ocean Wise:
- Chef Timothy Palmer, EPIC Restaurant, The Fairmont Royal York Hotel
- Chef de cuisine Derek Bendig, Pangaea Restaurant (last year's double champion)
- Chef Ted Corrado, C5
- Chef Andrea Nicholson-Jack, Killer Condiments
- Chef Shaun Edmonstone, Bruce Wine Bar
- Chef Kristin Donovan, Hooked Inc.
- Executive Chef Morgan Wilson, Trios Bistro, Eaton Centre Marriott
- Chef David Friedman, Fishbar
- Chef Shabbir Chowdury, Mill Street Brew Pub
We had a great time visiting all of the stations and sampling the fantastic offerings. Again this year some of my favourites were the stations that had come up with a creative side bite to go with their chowder and paired beer. For instance, Pangaea had a deliciuos on-the-spot fried fritter beside their corn, fennel, and smoked Whitefish chowder.
The real surprise came from Bruce Wine Bar's Shaun Edmonstone who had a delicious Whitefish and corn chowder and added a crisp topped wtih caviar and creme fraiche. If you find yourself in Collingwood this winter head to Thornbury and give Bruce Wine Bar a shot. If the regular offerings are anything like this dish you won't be disappointed.
It seems a plurality of the crowd agreed with my positive assessment, selecting Bruce Wine Bar as the people's choice winner. The celebrity judging panel backed Morgan Wilson and his team the Eaton Centre Marriott's Trios Bistro.
At $40 the Chowder Chowdown remains, in my view, as one of the best value events in Toronto.
Congratulations to the winners and to all the chefs who participated in this event for such a great cause.
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.