The organizers of the 31st Annual Schweppes Great Chowder Cook-Off, to take place Saturday, June 2 at the Newport Yachting Center on America’s Cup Avenue in downtown Newport, announce they are recruiting hardcore chowder fans to join its team of official Chowder-Spotters in a hunt for potential Cook-Off competitors that serve champion-caliber “chowda.” The Chowder-Spotters are asked to encourage competition-ready restaurant owners and chefs to get involved by giving them an official “You’ve Been Chowder Spotted” card, which contains information on how they can get started on their road to chowder glory. And, if a “spotted” restaurant ends up competing in the 2012 Great Chowder Cook-Off, the Newport Yachting Center will recognize the appropriate Chowder-Spotter with a $100 dining certificate to the new competitor’s restaurant and an acknowledgement as to who has bragging rights.
“The field is wide open this year as several of our competitors won for the third time last year and, by rule, cannot compete in the same category again,” said Mike Martin, Festival Director at the Newport Yachting Center. “We’re enlisting the support of our Chowder-Spotters to help stir up the competition with some new traditional and creative chowders that are worthy of the largest and longest running chowder championships in the country.” Martin encouraged any aspiring Chowder-Spotters to contact him at 846-1600 x210 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to make the appointment official and receive the Chowder-Spotter cards to be distributed at preferred chowder stands, restaurants and other secret spots.
Open to local, regional and international chefs who work at restaurants, catering companies and institutional dining facilities, the spirited competition for bragging rights and nearly $15,000 in prizes and awards is a fun-filled day for the chowder creators as well as the tasters. The event features all-you-can-eat "chowda" from the nation's best chefs who serve samples of their sumptuous creations to the thousands of chowder loving festival attendees who also act as judges. Chefs compete for the coveted titles of "Best Clam," "Best Seafood," and "Best Creative" chowder with prize money being awarded to the top three winners in each category. In fact, the prize pot has doubled this year with $2,000 going to the First-Place Winners in each category.
But it is not all about the “chowda.” Back by popular demand is the “Clam Cake Chow-Down” eating contest, the Stop & Shop Culinary stage featuring culinary demonstration by Chef Timothy and RIPTA’s Travelin’ Buddies kidSTOPs throughout the site.
The Schweppes Great Chowder Cook-Off is currently offering “Ten Clams Off” its $25 day-of event ticket until Tuesday, May 1. The discounted $15 ticket also includes automatic membership into the Chowdahead Club featuring the “Chowder Power Hour” where the ultimate “Chowda” fans can enjoy an early, all-access experience at the popular event. On May 2, the discounted ticket price rises to $20 through Friday, June 1 with the June 2nd day-of event ticket costing $25. All tickets include free admittance to the event for children under the age of 12 as long as a paying adult accompanies them.
For more information, visit newportwaterfrontevents.com or contact the Newport Yachting Center at 846-1600. Tickets can also be purchased as walk ups seven days a week starting in mid-May at the Newport Yachting Center Box Office on 4 Commercial Wharf (on America’s Cup Ave.) in downtown Newport.