On 22nd Nov, the Vancouver Aquarium was transformed into a culinary battleground as 12 of Vancouver’s top chefs competed to create the best sustainable chowder before a crowd of hungry seafood lovers. After the last bowls of chowder were sampled, a panel of esteemed judges crowned Chef Chris Whittaker of Forage Restaurant the 2012 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. In a surprising sweep, Chef Whittaker’s chowder was also chosen as the winner of the People’s Choice Award.
Chef Whittaker won over the celebrity judges and the crowd with his irresistible recipe for Creamy Spot Prawn Chowder with Poached Egg and Smokey Chicharon, featuring white wine, leeks and bacon.

And here is the recipe Creamy BC Spot Prawn Chowder With poached egg and Smokey Chicharon:

1/3 cup Salted Butter
¾ cup bacon (cut into batons)
2 cups Diced Celeriac
2 cups Diced Tomato
2 cups Diced Onion
1 cup Diced Carrots
1 cup Diced Leeks
¼ cup Flour
½ cup White Wine
3 cups Spot Prawn Stock
1 ½ cups Cream
1 ¼ cups Diced German Butter Potato
1 tsp Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
1 tsp Finely Chopped Thyme
½ tsp Riesling Vinegar
20 piece Wild BC Spot Prawns (split in half)
Salt and White Pepper to taste

Heat sauce pan over medium heat and add bacon and butter. Once melted and bacon has begun to render, add celeriac, onion, leeks and carrots. Saute until vegetables become translucent and add flour and mix until incorporated. Cook for about five minutes on low hear and then deglaze with white wine. Once alcohol is cooked off (about 1 minute) add prawn stock and turn heat back up to medium. Add heavy cream and diced tomatoes and potatoes. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on a gentle simmer and then add riesling vinegar, parsley and thyme. Stir in the raw prawns and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.

Serves 4 – 6

For the Chicharon

1 pound pork skin (fat removed and diced)
3 cups water
1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in pot and bring to boil. Cook for at least 30 minutes. Strain and dry in 180f oven for 6 hours or until completely dry. Place in 350f frying oil until they puff nicely. Remove and season with salt. At this point we lightly smoke with applewood chips for 10-15 minutes.(optional)

Place chowder in bowl of your choice and garnish with soft poached egg and chicharon.

Try these salmon chowder bread bowls next.

Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program

The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. With over 3,100 Ocean Wise partner locations across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. www.oceanwise.ca