It’s time for the 32nd annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festival: Saturday Feb. 23, 2013 at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
The Chowder Cook-Off has free admission. If you want to eat chowder, for $9 you get a tasting kit which includes five samples plus two “People’s Choice” ballots so you can vote.
Last year more than 70 individuals and teams participated, including teams from Aquarius, Ideal Bar and Grill, and Local Harvest Catering.
The competition features two divisions:
• Best Individual – with subcategories for both Manhattan & Boston varieties
• Best Professional – with subcategories for both Manhattan & Boston varieties
Some participants dress in whimsical costumes including mermaids, disco clams, scuba divers, and clam fairies. Teams can choose to compete in one or both of the Manhattan & Boston categories.
Teams also are in the running for prizes such as “Most Tasted Chowder.” The 2011 winner for that was the Chowder Slugs team which included UC Santa Cruz chefs and Dining Services Director Scott Berlin; that team also came in second for Most Tasted in 2012. First place for Most Tasted in 2012 was Rosie’s Clam & Get It (Kitty Dixon, Soquel). For a complete list of prizewinners from 2012, see my Clam Chowder recap article.
On Saturday, the Boardwalk rides will be open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
- 10:00 a.m. Cooking starts & tasting kits go on sale
- 1:00 p.m. Public tasting begins (there is also a judges’ tasting)
- 4:00 p.m. Winners announced
The cook-off is a fund-raiser for the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department. Each year during 2011 and 2012 the event raised more than $55,000.
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