Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chowderfest

About a month or more ago, I got an email from someone I didn't know. She asked me if I would be interested in being a judge for a Chowderfest they were having at Waterford. It's a planned community over the bridge in Leland, and they were doing this as an iniative to bring people in to see the properties that hadn't been developed. My first thought was "What? How did you FIND me?" I mean, it's not like I'm paid to do anything with food, and it's not as though my readership is... well... existent. Heck, with the exception of my brother's wife, Nat (holla!), my own family doesn't even read it. (Yes, that includes my husband.) But, it was a volunteer thing, and I figure you get what you pay for, so I said I'd love to. Because I would!


I got an email later from Kace, who organized it.  (Pretty well, I might add - things ran very smoothly, overall, and there was a great turnout! So good, in fact that the competitors ran out of chowder for people to taste. That's a high-class problem.)

She sent the list of judges:
  • Allison Ballard – Wilmington Star News, former food writer
  • Liz Biro – Food Writer / Chef
  • Alexis Fouros – Chef, Professor of Culinary Arts, Author “Feast for the Gods”
  • Norm Harding – Cooking Columnist for Brunswick Beacon
  • Gavin Johnson – Reporter for WECT
  • Andie Reid – POSER.


No, it didn't really say Poser. It said "Food Blogger". But that's what I felt like, looking at the list. Hmmm... professional writers and food people. Aaaannnnnd me. But I gave it my best effort, and given that the results of the competition pretty closely mirrored how I'd rated everyone, that's something. That's us, minus me, getting ready to start.
 
We were given 8 different chowders to sample, and rated them on aroma, appearance, taste, consistency, and overall appeal. There was a wide variety of types in the 8 we had. Some were brothy, others white and creamy, others red and creamy, all with various types of fish or clams or corn, so the judging didn't get boring.
 
The winner was Michelle Troegner. Her chowder was a fairly traditional New England Clam Chowder that was well-balanced in flavor and rich without being too thick and goopy. I'm hoping she'll allow me to do a blog about her, so I won't say much more about her entry here, other than that she deserved to win, in my opinion. 
 
I met some interesting people, and scored an excellent cookbook from Alexis full of gorgeous pictures. I'm planning to blog about that soon, too, so stay tuned.
 
I do have to say that I'm probably not going to want chowder for quite some time to come, but I had a good time, and was grateful to be asked to participate.

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