Soup’s almost on “Chowdah: lovers! The competition at the Newport Yachting Center’s 33rd Annual Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook-Off, scheduled for Saturday, June 7th, 2014 from noon – 6:00 p.m., will be as rich as ever as restaurants from across the country and the pond take aim at the titles of “Best Clam”, “Best Seafood”, and “Best Creative” chowder. Among those helping to stir up the Cook-Off and the unofficial start to the summer season in Newport will be The West Bar from Westport County Mayo in Ireland, Fat Face Fenner’s Fishack of Hermosa Beach, California and former three-time champion and Chowder Hall of Famer, Pike Place Chowder from Seattle, Washington, as well as defending champions, Stefano’s Seafood of Long Beach Island, New Jersey and local Melville Grille from Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The original, largest and longest-running chowder championship in the country also features all-you-can-eat chowder, the Newport Oyster Festival, the Clam Cake Chow-Down competition, live music and a variety of entertainment for all ages.
The highly anticipated competition for bragging rights and nearly $13,000 in prizes and awards for the top three winners in each category, is a fun-filled day for the chowder creators as well as the tasters. The nation’s best chefs representing restaurants, catering companies and institutional dining facilities carefully prepare 4,000 gallons of delicious chowder and serve samples of their sumptuous creations to the thousands of chowder loving festival attendees who also serve as judges.
“Chowdaheads are going to really enjoy the quality and enthusiasm of our new competitors, including top chefs from restaurants in Ireland and California, who will be looking to knock two-time defending champions, Stefano’s Seafood and the Melville Grille off their perches and deny them a third straight win and automatic entry into the Chowder Hall of Fame,” said Mike Martin, Director of Newport Waterfront Events at the Newport Yachting Center.
But it is not all about the “Chowdah”. The Newport Oyster Festival will only be a cherrystone’s throw away just outside the gates at the Newport Yachting Center. The best of local shellfish and seafood will once again be presented “farmers’ market style” by Matunuck Oyster Farm and Matunuck Oyster Bar and paired with beer, wine, spirits and live music. The Festival continues to 7:00 p.m. and entry is free with a Chowder Cook-Off ticket making it a perfect spot to take a break from chowder and a great after-party following the Cook-Off’s awards ceremony. Also, calling chompers of all makes and models, the “Clam Cake Chow-Down” eating contest is back to determine who can eat a half dozen clam cakes the fastest. The crumbs are sure to be flying during the fast and furious contest among the event attendees with medals going to the top two finishers.
While taking a break from all things seafood, check out Chef Timothy Mulligan at the Stop & Shop Culinary Stage as he cooks up and provides samples of his delicious recipes, including Crabmeat & Artichoke Spread, Chicken & Broccoli Mac & Cheese, Quinoa Plum Salad and Black Bean & Corn Wontons, all featuring favorite Stop & Shop products. He will also replicate the winning entry of the “Ultimate Chowdah Fan” recipe contest presented by Rhody Fresh and New England Dairy. Chef Timothy previously worked at the popular Twin Oaks restaurant in Cranston and Lake Pearl’s Luciano’s and is presently Executive Chef with the Hilton Corporation. Barefoot Wine also will be back with the popular"Barefoot Beach" where attendees can sample different wine varietals and play games to win prizes. Polar Seltzer invites guests to pull up an Adirondack chair in the Polar Lounge and sample their Limited Edition Summer Seltzers.
In addition to food and drink, the event will feature various stages of live musical entertainment, including the reggae sounds of Rebel Heat and local favorites, The Ravers, on the Shell (Courtyard) Stage and Steel Appeal and Boo City, with its creative mix of musical styles, on the Barefoot Beach Stage. Adding to the festive atmosphere for the littlenecks are a series of fun KidSTOPs, including The Amica Family Fun Area featuring a chance for budding young artists to decorate its “Under the Sea” mural to be displayed at the Providence Children’s Museum after the event. Additional entertainment for the kids includes Mister Twister and his twisted balloon creations, face painting at the Stop & Shop booth, Captain William Kidd & The Freemen of the Sea prowling the shores with high seas hijinks on their minds, fundraising activities to benefit charitable partners the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center and the Potter League and a Marketplace with a variety of crafts and specialty items.
In addition to Polar Seltzer, other sponsors of the event include Stop & Shop, Amstel Radler, Amica Insurance, Barefoot Wine, Deep Eddy Vodka, Plymouth Gin, Cox Communications, New England Ford, Rhody Fresh, Must Be the Milk, Cabot, Leaf Filter, Life is good., Cardi’s Furniture, WPRI 12, FOX Providence, The Rhode Show, B101, WHJJ/WHJY and Coast 93.3.
The Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook-Off is offering a discounted advance ticket price of $20 through Friday, June 6th with the Saturday, June 7th day-of event ticket costing $25. All tickets include complimentary admittance to the Newport Oyster Festival. Children are admitted free if under the age of 12 and accompanied by a paid adult. To purchase tickets, please visit newportwaterfrontevents.com or order by phone by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased as walk ups seven days a week at the Newport Yachting Center Box Office on 4 Commercial Wharf (on America’s Cup Avenue) in downtown Newport. For more information, please visit newportwaterfrontevents.com or contact the Newport Yachting Center at (401) 846-1600. Also, become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/waterfrontevents or follow on Twitter at twitter.com/newportevents.