This past Sunday, November 10, 2019 was the 6th Annual Chowder Challenge, presented by The Pass-A-Grille Woman’s Club. It’s a fundraising event for and by the Pass-a-Grille Woman’s Club and other local charities. The event was held at Horan Park right on the St. Pete Beach Intracoastal. Not only is Horan Park a beautiful location, it also has the following accommodations – a playground, pavilion, barbecue, restrooms & parking.
(Photos by Lori Brown unless otherwise indicted)
The event honored veterans for Veteran’s Day. There was a color guard, the singing of the National Anthem, and a ceremony pledging new recruits into the military.
There was a silent auction, raffle, and live music as well.
The tickets were $15, and they allowed attendees to taste and judge 20 different restaurant’s entries. You could buy extra tickets for $4 for beer, wine, and desserts.
In addition to the People’s Choice, there were three “Celebrity Judges” as well.
I was one of the judges, along with Bobbie Huston from Campbell’s Soup, and Executive Chef Matt Smith, from The Hangar Restaurant and Flight Lounge.
We did a blind tasting with rating sheets with samples brought to us by runners. We were set on the opposite side of the park so we couldn’t see which restaurants the samples were coming from, and they were numbered, but numbered differently than the contestants booths.
Three of the entries were “non-chowders”, and the rest were all kinds of different chowders with the majority being cream based, or white chowders.
After the initial round of judging, we brought back five to re-taste – three chowders and two non-chowders as we needed to choose winners for each of these two categories.
The 2019 Winners
The Golden Ladle – Ricky T’s (Spicy Seafood Creole Chowder – this was a judges final round contestant.)
Judge’s Best in Show Chowder – The Dewey Beach Restaurant (Smoked Fish Chowder w/Tomato Herb Broth and little bit of kick.)
Judge’s Best in Show Non-Chowder Soup – Portofino Italian Ristorante (Zuppa di Pesce Italiana – packed with flavor and all kinds of fish and seafood.)
People’s Choice 1st Place – Paradise Grille (Bay Scallop, Crab, Bacon Chowder – this was a judges final round contestant.)
People’s Choice 2nd Place – Culinary School, Pinellas Technical College
People’s Choice 3rd Place – Shells
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Your favorite local restaurants in the St Pete Beach area compete for your votes in the annual CHOWDER CHALLENGE. Come to Horan Park on Sunday 11/10 for chowder, music and raffles, silent auction and fun.