Restaurant News: Chowder contestants all deserve a hand

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Edmonds Chowder Cook-Off judges hard at work, from left: Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling; My Edmonds News restaurant columnist Kathy Passage; KNKX food commentator Nancy Leson; Jon Rowley of Taylor Shellfish Farms and KING-TV reporter Heather Bosch.

Restaurant News applauds all of the restaurants who participated in this year’s Edmonds Chowder Cook-Off, sponsored by the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. Our task as judges Saturday was not an easy one, and voting was close.

Ten cups of chowder were placed before each of us on the panel of judges. Hard choices… and when portions are small, one worries that the contents of the cup are truly representative of the recipe created by the chefs. We did our best.

Here are the judges’ picks of the 2017 Edmonds Clam Chowder Cook-Off. People’s Choice awards will be announced on Monday.

Salt & Iron won for the best Traditional Chowder. (Photo by Teresa Wippel)

Salt & Iron won the Best Traditional category

Traditional Chowder, IMHO, should be rich and filling, creamy in texture. Tender clams, the main feature, complimented by chunks of potatoes, ready to dissolve on the tongue, hints of flavor from bits of salty pork, minimal celery and onions, a twist of the pepper grinder. Salt & Iron’s entry met all of those requirements and was a clear winner.

190 Sunset, winner of the Cutting-Edge category. (Photo by Teresa Wippel)

190 Sunset won Best Cutting-Edge category
Cutting-edge chowder has no constrictions on recipe, method or ingredients. The chef is free to create. Wow, the hit of jalapeno on my first swallow took my breath away. Crème fraiche topper cooled the spice, and made me eager to spoon more into my mouth.
Restaurant News noted the minimal use of thickening agents. A well-seasoned broth mingled with the seafood and vegetables and played well with all of the ingredients. I’ll be by 190 Sunset to order a whole bowl.

Ivar’s took the Best Booth honors. (Photo by Kathy Passage)

Ivar’s was voted the Best Booth
An island theme and smiling faces greeted each person who was handed a cup of chowder. Great use of color, costumes and props helps them win it all.

— By Kathy Passage

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