Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, has announced a two-month program called ChowdaQuest allowing chefs/restaurants the ability to earn their way into the annual competition.
Chowdafest is limited to 28 restaurants. Seven (7) spots in four categories: Classic New England Clam Chowder, Traditional Chowder (Manhattan & Rhode Island Clam Chowders only), Creative Chowder and Soup/Bisque. Restaurants who finished in the top 3 places last year in each category automatically qualify to compete again. A total of 12 spots can be earned through ChowdaQuest (three (3) in each category) with a remaining category spot reserved for “at-large” bids by the Chowdafest committee.
During the month of October through Thanksgiving, restaurants competing in ChowdaQuest are offering a soup sampler appetizer where customers use their smart phone to vote for which soup or chowder they think the restaurant should enter. Restaurants with the most votes will fill the remaining slots. ChowdaQuest is sponsored by CTBites.com and Sierra Nevada Beer who will also be the exclusive beer at Chowdafest as the event will now offer beer sampling to compliment the competition.
“It’s a no brainer” said Dick Gildersleeve, owner of the Crab Shell in Stamford who won for their lobster bisque. “Brewery’s offer a beer sampler. Some restaurants offer an appetizer sampler. We have four chowders and bisques on our menu every day and we never realized people might want to try all of them. It’s a simple but brilliant concept that people really like”. Restaurants like Rowayton Seafood have already sold dozens of soup samplers and have already been accumulating votes. “We competed in Chowdafest the past two years and want to be back for a third” said Chef Matt Ness.
Three-time champion, Ginger Man from Norwalk is also competing despite automatically qualifying. “We decided to retire our award winning sweet potato soup from the competition and enter something new” said Casey Dohme, restaurant manager. “Participating in ChowdaQuest allows us to test three new soups we’re considering and the voting feedback will help tells us what customers like the best”.
ChowdaQuest is an open competition for restaurants only and there’s still time to join the competition. There are currently more than 60 restaurants either already in the competition or considering it. “Chowdafest has become a state wide event” said Keenan. “We’re excited to see restaurants from Stamford to Mystic involved. Great restaurants from New Haven and Hartford areas, too. You never know where you’ll find great soup. We even have a new Indian food concept restaurant called Tikkaway in New Haven that wants to show their stuff. The culinary talent is immense.”
“We’re excited to show what we can do,” said Christopher Molyneux, executive chef at Parallel Post in Trumbull. “It’s great competition, a great cause and a terrific opportunity to let people know about us. It gives new restaurants like us a chance to earn our way into what has become both a fun and prestigious competition with other great chefs & restaurants.” Chowdafest raises funds for the CT Food Bank.
For additional information about ChowdaQuest and Chowdafest, please visit www.chowdafest.org.
Chowdafest is the premier culinary competition in CT and second largest such event in all of New England. It’s an annual fundraiser for the CT Food Bank where people pay $10 to be a judge. They sample decadent chowders, soups and bisque from 28 restaurants, then rate each soup on a scale from 7 to 10 with ½ point increments. The highest rated soup in each category are declared champions. Chowdafest is held annually on the Super Bowl at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. It’s a zero waste event with all materials being compostable. Sponsors include Stop & Shop, The Farmer’s Cow, Fiat of Fairifeld County, World Centric, Sierra Nevada, Chabaso Artisian Bakery, E. & J. Gallo Wines, Frontier Soup and Westminster Crackers.
Restaurants currently competing or considering the competition include: Atlantic Seafood (Old Saybrook), Barnum Publick House (Bridgeport), Black Duck (Westport), Blue Lemon (Westport), Bobette’s (Milford), Bobby Q’s (Westport), Bodega Taco Bar (Fairfield, Darien), Brewhouse (Norwalk), Carmen Anthony’s Fish House (Woodbury), Close Harbour Seafood (Plantsville), Crab Shell (Stamford), Donovan’s (Norwalk), Dressing Room (Westport), Dunville’s (Westport), Ginger Man (Norwalk), Guvnor’s Brewery (Norwalk), High Tide Gourmet (Madison), Indigo by the Water (Milford), Larry & Joe’s Fish Tales (New Haven), Liquid Lunch (Shelton, Milford), Little Pub (Wilton, Georgetown), Madden’s Gastropub (New Haven), Mansion Clam House (Westport), Max’s Fish (Glastonbury), Max’s Oyster House (West Hartford), Mecha Noodle (Fairfield), Monte’s River Grille (Milford), Old Post Tavern (Fairfield), O’Neill’s (Norwalk), Oyster River Tavern (West Haven), Parallel Post (Trumbull), Post 154 (Westport), Redding Road House (Redding), Rive Bistro (Westport), Rory’s (Darien), Rowayton Seafood (Rowayton), S&P Oyster House (Mystic), Sage American Grill & Oyster Bar (New Haven), School House at Cannondale (Wilton), Season at Oak Lane (Woodbridge), Seawich Café (Brandford), SoNo Seaport Seafood (Norwalk), Southport Brewing Company (Stamford, Fairfield, Milford, Shelton), Splash (Westport), Stowe’s Seafood (West Haven), Super Duper Weenie Dog (Fairfield), Szabo’s Seafood (Shelton), Tavern on Main (Westport), The Chelsea (Fairfield), The Elm (New Canaan), The Restaurant at 323 (Westport), The South End (New Canaan), The Spread (Norwalk), Tikkaway Grill (New Haven), Two Boots (Bridgeport), USS Chowder Pot (Brandford), Valencia’s Luncheria (Norwalk) and Wood ‘n Tap (Orange, Wallingford, Southington, Hartford, Vernon, Farmington & Rocky Hill).