In the 2009 Coast Day Chowder Challenge, a competition that lets visitors vote on soups prepared by two local chefs associations, an abundance of taste testers queued up all day.
The tally of their votes not only revealed the contest’s winner, it showed a record 1,300 votes.
“This is always a very popular event at Coast Day, and this year it really showed,” said Doris Hicks, seafood specialist with Delaware Sea Grant and organizer of the Coast Day seafood competitions. “There was a line all day. It was really exciting.”
The contest took place at the University of Delaware’s Coast Day, held Sunday, Oct. 4, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. Visitors got to sample a 2-ounce portion of each chowder and then vote for their favorite. In the end, the First State Chefs Association took first prize over Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association.
Before Coast Day, each organization holds an internal competition to see which recipe to enter. For First State Chefs Association, Chef David Nolker of the Delaware Tech Culinary Arts Program was the winner. Nolker said that a lot of “love and attitude” went into his chowder to make it stand out. He also said he enjoys using different spices such as cumin to give the soup a “nice background.”
Both associations used clams donated by Seawatch International Inc., of Milford, Del., for the event.
Coast Day, which is organized by UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, attracts thousands of visitors each year to celebrate Delaware’s coastal resources and experience marine research.
For more information about Coast Day, visit www.decoastday.org or call 302-831-8083.
To learn more about the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, visit www.deseagrant.org. For more about CEOE, visit www.ceoe.udel.edu.
2009 Coast Day Chowder Challenge
Chef David Nolker, CCE
Delaware Technical and Community College Culinary Arts Program
First State Chefs Association
1 fluid ounces olive oil
8 ounces onions, 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces green pepper, 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces red pepper, 1/4-inch dice
1 each small habanera pepper, finely diced
6 ounces celery, 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, fresh, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon thyme, dried
1/4 teaspoon basil, dried
3 fluid ounces brandy
3 fluid ounces white wine
1 quart heavy cream
1 #5 can Seawatch chopped clams with juice
12 ounces Yukon gold potato, 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon chicken glaze or chicken base
4 ounces unsalted butter
As needed corn starch diluted with water
As needed salt and freshly ground white pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot. Do not let the oil get too hot and smoke. Add the diced vegetables in sequence as listed. Sauté gently without coloring. Add the spices and herbs and continue to sauté without coloring for 1 minute. Add the brandy and white wine and flambé. Add the heavy cream and the juice from the Seawatch chopped clams. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the diced potatoes and Seawatch clams and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked, but still firm. Add chicken glaze (or base) to enhance the flavor. Stir in diluted corn starch to thicken slightly. Finish by stirring tin the fresh unsalted butter. Correct seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.