Submitted by Cara Brechler, Marketing Manager
Every February for the past 31 years, thousands of fans flock to Santa Cruz’s Beach Boardwalk to sample clam chowder for a good cause. This year, colleagues from Bon Appétit joined forces to support one of their own, Chef de Cuisine Kevin Means, as he presented his award-winning Boston recipe.
The Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festival – one of the most popular events in town – is also an important fund-raiser for the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department. Raising $71,635, competition was stiff this year, with a record 85 teams in participating in three divisions: individual, corporate/media and restaurant, Some of the awards include “Most Original Team,” “Most Tasted Chowder,” “People’s Choice” and the coveted “Best Clam Chowder.”
Taking 4th place in the restaurant division, Chef Kevin and his event crew; Executive Chef Ryan Smith (Brocade), Café Manager Dante Medina, Director of Catering Chana Rodriguez (Oracle), Café Manager Rebecca Millan (eBay) and Café Manager Sarah Johnson, served up over 28 gallons of soup. Although some teams had elaborate setups and kitschy names (Silence of the clams, California Clam Rush to name a few), the BA booth educated the crowd on Monterey Bay Seafood Watch while passing out great tasting chowder.
And although we didn’t take home a trophy, I think 10 year old Sunshyne Brechler summed up the day best when on the ride home she said, “well we didn’t win the big prize, but we sure did win on fun”.