Um…wow. This year’s Chowdafest was really more like Chowdabest. Over 7,500 people (when we get the actual numbers, we’ll share) came through the doors to slurp down killer soups, chowders, and bisque. Chowda Chairman, Jim Keenan, told us this week that the presales at Stop & Shop had already topped the attendance record from last year. And, that doesn’t include the massive amounts of people waiting to get inside of Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, either. Christian Burns, owner of Ginger Man Norwalk and Greenwich and Cask Republic in New Haven and Stamford told us that the line to enter stretched outside for a bit. What an amazing turnout and what a great show of force to support not only the restaurants and sponsors participating, but to also raise some vital funds and donations for The Connecticut Food Bank.
Okay, so it’s finally time! You’ll never know how tough it was for us to not spill the pinto beans on this one: the chefs who will be taking part in the first ever cooking demos at Chowdafest brought to you by both of us here at OmNomCT and CTbites and sponsored by Clarke of Norwalk.
First up is Hunter Zampa, winner of Food Network’s Chopped: Teen Talent competition. You also might remember seeing him duke it out all the way until the end on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-off. Well, here’s your chance to see him cook live as he works the Clarke Cooking Stage starting at 11:30. For his demo, he’ll be creating a Spinach Potato Leek Dip using ingredients and products from Frontier Soups and Westminster Crackers.
We’ve covered ChowdaFest for the past few years and we’ve been happy to see it grow into one of the most popular events in Connecticut. Really, what’s better? You pay just a small amount of money to go around and taste chowder after chowder, soup after soup, then vote on your favorites. And, at the end of the day, you feel good knowing that you’ve helped Connecticut Food Bank. Now, the next ChowdaFest isn’t until February 2, 2014, but there’s lots going on before then…namely the brand new experience called ChowdaQuest.
ChowdaQuest is “The Quest for the Fest” and will put even more power in the hands of hungry chowda-sippers. This all new experience came about due to so many restaurants wanting to be involved, but only having a limited amount of spots in the competition. All you need to do is check out any of the restaurants that we’ve listed below, ask for their soup sampler, then vote for your favorite soup by heading to ChowdaQuest.com. You get one vote per restaurant per valid e-mail address, so make sure you’re voting for your absolute favorite soup from each restaurant. The restaurants with the most votes by Thanksgiving will get spots in ChowdaFest 2014, so make sure that you support your favorite restaurants by voting! While you’re on the voting page, make sure to enter the Sierra Nevada contest. Just explain where your favorite place to drink Sierra Nevada is and you just might win dinner for two at any of the restaurants that are participating in ChowdaQuest 2014.
Here is the massive list of restaurants that are participating in ChowdaQuest 2014. Some of the restaurants are still waiting to confirm with Jim (nothing next to their name), but will be ready to go shortly: