Toronto Chowder Chowdown – February 27, 2019

Event Details


February 27, 2019


7:00PM - Late




The Fermenting Cellar

28 Distillery Lane, Toronto, Ontario M5A 3C4


Toronto Chowder Chowdown - February 27, 2019

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Save the date! Toronto Chowder Chowdown is back on February 27, 2019.

Top Ontario Chefs. Sustainable Chowders & Craft Beer. Come Cast Your Vote!

Top Ocean Wise chefs compete head-to-head for the title of 2019 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Toronto. Taste all the delectable original chowders that feature sustainably caught seafood and are paired with local craft beer, ciders and spirits – then vote for your favourite!

All proceeds directly support the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program, which helps to ensure ocean life will be abundant for generations to come.



360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower Chef John Morris

Chef John Morris was born in Bathgate, Scotland, and raised in Ontario, Canada. During his professional career of over 20 years, John has had the distinct honour of being a part of four passionate and unique CAA Four Diamond award-winning culinary teams, including an apprenticeship at Canadian Pacific Hotels Lodge at Kananaskis in Alberta as part of the international brigade during the G8 summit in 2002, and in an integral role with the opening team for Perspectives Restaurant and the Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa (achieving the CAA Four Diamond award within three months of opening in 2003).

After a culinary stage in Bermuda with renowned Chef Steven Gugelmeier, John joined the team at Caesars Hotel and Casino in Windsor, Ontario with Chef Raymond Taylor.

He was Executive Sous Chef for Marriott Hotels International in Ottawa prior to returning to work with famed Chef Michael Blackie at the National Arts Centre of Canada in 2009, fulfilling the role of Executive Sous Chef and then being appointed as Executive Chef in 2012.

John joined the CN Tower culinary team as Executive Chef in February 2016.

Never resting on his laurels, John is proud of his many achievements to date which include an individual Gold Medal at Toronto’s Escoffier Society Culinary Salon (2009), being a key team member in the NAC’s silver medal win at the Ottawa regional Gold Medal Plates competition (2009); recently Chef Morris and his team at NAC were awarded the bronze medal at the 2014 Gold Medal Plates competition in Ottawa.


Bistro 67 at Durham College Chef Raul Sojo

Durham College (DC) is proud to welcome Chef Raul Sojo to the DC family as the new Executive Chef, Bistro ’67, at the Center For Food (CFF).

In this position, Chef Sojo is responsible for the field-to-fork food operations of Bistro ’67, DC’s full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant. He also works closely with students and faculty from the CFF’s academic programs to help prepare the next generation of food and hospitality professionals.

Chef Sojo brings deep culinary expertise and experience to Bistro ’67. Most recently, he held the positions of Chef de Cuisine at the Oshawa Golf Club and Executive Chef and owner of RSVP Chef and Catering Services. In addition, he is a collaborator with a food magazine in Colombia and has taught for DC part-time. Chef Sojo holds Red Seal Certification and a diploma in Culinary Management.

From Bistro ‘67’s state-of-the-art kitchen and learning environment, Chef Sojo creates unique dining experiences for patrons. He designs and executes fresh, inspiring menus that incorporate his passion for field-to-fork.


The Chase Fish and Oyster Chef Felicia de Rose 

Chef Felicia is currently the Chef de Cusine for both The Chase Fish and Oyster House and Planta Burger.

She has been with The Chase Hospitality group since 2015, starting out at Colette Grand Cafe as the Executive Sous Chef.

Chef Felicia is also a member if the Ontario Hostelry Institute, having been recognized in the ‘Top 30 Under 30’ in 2017.



The Chef’s Table at Fanshawe College Chef Kyle Fee

An Ottawa Valley native, Chef Kyle is one of the Chef Instructors at The Chef’s Table at Fanshawe College.


He loves the constant evolution in the hospitality industry, and the never-ending cycle of learning and growth.  He enjoys helping students and believes preparing something special for others is both humbling and honest.


Distillery Events Chef Percy Chandrasegaram

Chef Percy Chandrasegaram was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Scarborough, Ontario. Having his mother and grandmother always in the kitchen inspired an early love of food.

Entering the culinary world was a happy accident as he started as a dishwasher during high school, and found his way on to the line. Immediately falling in love with the industrial kitchens, he decided to pursue a career in the culinary world.

After working and apprenticing at a handful of restaurants in Richmond Hill, and then started his culinary education at George Brown. It was here where he found his way to the Distillery Restaurant Corporation, where he signed up with Distillery Events and Archeo Trattoria which he has made his home for the last 5 years.



The Fairmont Royal York Chef JW Foster

As part of the Fairmont Family for over 15 years, with time spent at the Peace Hotel in Shanghai, Fairmont Dallas, Fairmont San Francisco, and Fairmont Banff Springs, Executive Chef JW brings a true taste of the world, his award-winning talent and highly-respected food philosophy to Canada’s icon, Fairmont Royal York, in its most exciting chapter yet.

As the creative culinary director, Chef JW will infuse imagination into the hotel’s six new culinary concepts as it transforms three of its signature food and beverage venues set to debut in spring 2019. Visitors and guests alike can expect a bold, modern and authentic essence in Chef and team’s new menus while they honour the hotel’s rich food history and renowned service. With these newly imagined culinary venues and dining experiences; the hotel is also set to debut a completely remodeled Fairmont Gold, presenting the finest luxury hotel offerings and services in the city; and a luminous new lobby and arrival experience.

Being a world-class and well-traveled Chef, while holding an immense care for guests and elevating the culture of passionate culinary artists along the way, the hotel and local industry are especially excited for Chef JW’s return to Toronto.
“I have a true soft spot for this hotel and the incredible chance for me to be a part of its next chapter of luxury hospitality. I started my career here in 2002 and when I left in 2007 as Executive Sous Chef, I had no intention to leave,” says Chef JW. “I am thrilled to be back and have the chance to give platform and expertise that I have gained in my Fairmont journey throughout the world to the culinary team to allow it the new culinary concepts and cuisines to thrive. I also look forward to take the kitchen back to its roots and grow the future of our industry as we reinvigorate the apprenticeship program.”

The philosophies of “nose to tail” and “hug your farmer” will be a part of Chef JW’s vision at Fairmont Royal York along with his value of sustainability and a goal to be 100 per cent Ocean Wise in the next six months.
When asked what he attributes the success in his career thus far, “My efforts to put my team first, thinking outside the box, pushing the envelope of the food we create, working local and inspiring the up-and-coming leaders in the industry.”
Edwin Frizzell, Regional Vice-President and General Manager, Fairmont Royal York, “Chef JW’s return is the key ingredient to bring the next era of dining at our hotel to life. Pair his leadership, global culinary understanding and highly sought-after and respected skills; we believe his vision will bring bold and unexpected culinary surprise.”

“Food is a vessel to a one-second shiver towards a memory,” says Chef JW. What’s his favourite dish today? “Beef tartare given to me by my Dad – when I enjoy it today, it evokes memories of my childhood.” Chef will proudly present a steak tartare on the Library Bar menu in the coming months and shares that it will be a signature dish in the hotel’s next main restaurant.
‘Our role is to nourish people in memorable ways, and I wish to never let us forget that –
JW Foster.”


The Local Cafe and Restaurant at Centennial College Chef Matthew Ness

Chef Matthew Ness knew what he wanted to be from a very young age, going all the way back to elementary school. Even in high school he had access to a “real kitchen” style culinary class which he took every year despite it being an optional course. At age 15 he was working in some of the best restaurants in Durham Region. So right after graduation he went straight to George Brown College, while simultaneously working a full-time job in a small restaurant. At GBC he gained his Chef Training Certificate, Culinary Management Diploma, and graduated with honors.

From there he landed a position at the prestigious Granite Club where he absorbed as much knowledge as he could on fine dining, banquet service, garde manger, and large quantity a la carte service based around a vast array of cuisines. After his stay at the club, he went on to hold positions from Sous Chef, to Chef de Cuisine, to Executive Chef at acclaimed Toronto restaurants such as Mercatto, Patria, Byblos, The Southside, Culinaria, and lastly Sparrow where he built the restaurant from the ground up.

Chef Matthew moved back to his home town in Durham Region to run some of the finest gastronomic enterprises it has to offer including Urban Pantry, Harvest and most recently Willowtree Farm in Port Perry where he focused on field fresh, farm to table dining where almost everything cooked or sold (including the meat) was raised or grown on the nearly 500 acre farm.

Now he lives in Northumberland County with his wife and son where they plan to live as self-sufficient and sustainable as possible, raising chickens for eggs and growing their own produce.


Luma Chef Dawoon Chae

Growing up in Seoul, South Korea, Chef Dawoon Chae inherited a strong passion for food from his mother. Her freshly baked breads, homemade stocks and soup, and use of seasonal vegetables and fresh fish all inspired a young Dawoon to become a professional chef. When he was 21 years old, Chef Dawoon made the move to Toronto to study culinary management at George Brown College. Following apprenticeships at George under Chef Lorenzo Loseto, and Scaramouche under Keith Froggett, he found a job as a cook at O&B Café Grill Bayview Village, where he spent two years developing his skills.

After a brief stint at Vancouver’s renowned C Restaurant, where Chef Dawoon worked extensively with sustainable seafood, he returned to Toronto to take a Chef de Partie position at Marben. Mentored by Top Chef Canada winner Carl Heinrich as well as Chef Misha Nesterenko, Chef Dawoon crafted delicious Canadian comfort food. In 2011, Chef Dawoon took the next step into a leadership position at Simple Bistro. As Sous Chef, Dawoon expanded his knowledge of butchery and modern French technique. He was eventually promoted to Head Chef, and excelled in creating upscale French dishes with a hint of Korean influence.

Most recently, Chef Dawoon served as Chef de Cuisine at Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, where he focused on serving quality seafood and oysters. Now leading the kitchen at Luma, Chef Dawoon is excited to bring global flavours, fresh fish and seafood, and seasonal vegetables to the forefront of the menu.


Matty’s Seafood Chef Matt Dean Pettit 


From his first job as a busboy at the young age of 13 to line cook at 14, Chef Matt Dean Pettit’s (or Chef MDP) passion for the food industry started early. 20 years of experience in kitchens and hospitality all across the world led him to work on his own venture in 2011 and soon after Chef MDP founded Canada’s famed Rock Lobster Food Co Restaurants.

The Rock Lobster brand has since grown into a hugely successful grocery retail line focusing on proudly Canadian, sustainable award winning seafood dishes under the name brand Matty’s Seafood Co which is sold across all Canada & The USA.

Chef MDP has just launched his next big hit! His second cookbook that is published by Appetite by Penguin Random House titled The Great Shellfish Cookbook.

He has just put pen to paper on a contract and in the process of filming a new sports, travel and food show, launching 2019!

Chef MDP’s other projects include his first award winning Best-Selling cookbook, The Great Lobster Cook Book published by Appetite by Random House and co-starring in the Food Network Canada TV Show, Super Snack Bros. Where he showcases iconic snack foods made with crazy culinary twists. He also makes regular guest expert appearances, lending his love of food, wine and sports on Global TV, CTV, CBC television and radio, The Social, CTV Your Morning Canada and Cityline TV all across Canada and The USA.


Mercatto Chef Doug Neigel

As a boy growing up in Muskoka, Doug Neigel always appreciated where his food came from. Exploring local maple syrup farms, fishing out the Muskoka River and local hunted and foraged products is where his connection to food began. It was those truly authentic experiences, in that small Northern Ontario town, that shaped and inspired his life’s work.

At just nineteen, Chef Doug graduated from culinary school, taking his first steps into the hospitality industry. After a year at Deerhurst Resort in Ontario cottage country, he moved to the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Florida to complete his apprenticeship. Returning home in 2000 to join the prestigious Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto was a great opportunity for the young chef to refine his craft. With his hands on the pulse of an iconic Canadian hotel, he absorbed every culinary experience the hotel had to offer from à la carte dining to pastry and banquets.

Stepping out of the hotel world in 2007, Chef Doug opened two award-winning independent restaurants, L’Unità and Malena. It was at these two Yorkville eateries where Chef Doug continued his education of Italian gastronomy and established his soulful culinary point of view.

2011 brought Chef Doug new challenges with the fast growing Mercatto Hospitality. Spearheading an expanding culinary team of close to seventy-five, in a five restaurant strong family, he has continued to focus on his honest approach to cuisine with an emphasis on quality ingredients and made-from-scratch dishes. Charismatic and kind-hearted, Chef Doug thrives on mentoring his chefs and cooks while forging strong ties with Toronto’s Culinary schools and their future chefs. With a passion to impact the sector, presenting Mercatto’s dinners with food that is local, sustainable and supporting independent supplies continues to drive him.

Through his twenty-one years in the industry, Chef Doug has won over critics hearts and gained many accolades including: Top 10 new restaurants from James Chatto, Top 10 new restaurants from Joanne Kates, Top 10 new restaurants from Toronto Life, Top 100 restaurants in Toronto from Joanne Kates, Best Italian restaurants in Toronto from Dine. To, Nine of dine award from Now Magazine, Pizza hall of fame from Toronto Life, Best lunch spot from Now Magazine, and Industry partner award from George Brown College. Humble, Chef Doug credits the successes in his career to his focus on quality ingredients and partnering with the greatest of suppliers.


Pier 87 Chef Jason Maw and Chef Patrick McMurray

Chef Jason Maw was born and raised in the suburbs of Toronto.  While he may have been born here his parents were from South Africa, with ancestry originating from Canton province in China. With that background, even at a young age Chef Jason was no stranger to multiculturalism.  Growing up, dinners weren’t typical Chinese cuisine but a mixture and representation of the city that is his home. Food was always a big part of his life even at a young age as he helped his parents in the kitchen from time to time and eventually almost out of instinct started to cook from friends. His love for cooking and food was always there but Chef Jason only realized this just before leaving high school after getting accepted at the University of Guelph. Not totally sure of his path, Chef Jason was intent on going to the university if it weren’t for a flippant remark made by his father. Upon hours on the computer looking up recipes and watching copious amounts of Food Network, his father had said “if you like it so much why don’t you do that for a living”. What at the moment was thought to be a joke turned out to be most serendipitous. While his application to college was late, Chef Jason had the good fortune of beating out a few hundred other students to enroll at Humber college’s chef training program.

After completing the one year program, he jumped right into the industry working at Fusion bar and grill (which is now a tip top tailor).  Soon after getting the green off he left Fusion and found himself at Bistro 990 in 2000. There he progressed from apprentice to jr sous chef in a few years.  Staying on till 2006, when a change was needed. It was with great sadness that he chose to leave as he felt (and still does) it was the place that he grew and learned the most as a cook and chef.  Since then he has been through some of the cities reputable establishments such as Boba, Lakes and Starfish Oysterbed and grill (now Pearl Diver).

He has spent his career trying to hone his craft taking in various styles and techniques. Learning French bistro cuisine from Bistro 990, incorporating international flavours from Boba, molecular gastronomy from Match events and catering and utilizing local and fresh seafood from Starfish Oysterbed and grill. Chef Jason also has done a little traveling for his profession to broaden his prospective. Heading out west to cook for tree planters in the middle of the BC forest, NRA show in Chicago and frequently traveled to Las Vegas for the Catersource conference and tradeshow with emphasis in 2010  when he participate in the Anthology event in which he helped showcase the use of liquid nitrogen.

Chef Jason has most recently held the titles of executive chef and product development chef of Scarlett House Catering and Optimum Solutions. With this position, Jason was involved in nearly every aspect of Scarlett House catering. From corporate caterings, weddings, large BBQs for thousands, to working with companies such as West Jet and HMS host. Chef Jason has been responsible for developing menus and food items for both the catering side and the contract catering side. The food innovation and product development side became such a huge component and demand for his time was so high that we had to step away from the role of executive chef and move primarily to the roll of product development working with customers such as West Jet, HMS Host, Sunwing, Air Canada, Delta airlines, American Airlines, Core Mark and Air Transat. With this position he also worked with other caterers that are a part of a network belonging to Optimum Solutions. He provided guidance in operations and production flow, set the standards and quality control for all products for the mutual customers, and in person audits for partner caterers across the country.


Pure Spirits Oyster House Chef Aaron Linley

Aaron Linley dreamed of being a chef at 18, but attempted his first recipe long before that at age 12 with Deep-Fried Fish from the television show, Wok With Yan.

Born and raised in Stratford, Ontario, Chef Aaron headed to one of the best training grounds in Canada – Stratford Chefs School. With class in session during the winter months, summers were spent apprenticing at legendary modern fine dining restaurant Rundles, open for 41 years until doors closed September 2017 (Owner James Morrison also ran the school at the time).
Starting out on the floor as a food runner, Chef Aaron’s apprenticeship extended into six years. “I liked the energy, the feel, the food,” he says. He stayed on at school too – this time as instructor (cool fact: many well-known Toronto chefs were his students).

His passion for “constant learning” and travel led him to Toronto’s famed Scaramouche,a stage at Oliveto restaurant in California, with Chef Paul Bertolli of Chez Panisse fame (Rundles had sent students there as part of their training), and six months working with Chef Michael Smith, host of many television shows including Chef at Home, Chef at Large, and Chopped Canada.

After years of travel (Hong Kong, Thailand, China, most of western Europe, South America, Peru, New York, Chicago and “magical” Vietnam), he felt the pull back to his hometown.
He and wife Bronwyn – whom he met in chef school – opened Bijou in Stratford in 2001. Shopping for local ingredients daily at the market – “an important part of the process, ” the well- regarded farm-to-table restaurant saw great success by the discerning theater crowd under their tutelage.
They sold it in 2015 and created a similar achievement with their food at The Bruce Hotel for the next two years.

After many years of the restaurant grind, the couple focused on catering while their kids were in school. Suddenly college was on the horizon, and Chef Aaron and his wife felt ready for the next challenge. They packed up the house and moved to Toronto for a new adventure.

“Seafood’s always been a big love of mine,” Chef Aaron says. So the title of executive chef for The Distillery Historic District’s Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill is a natural fit.


The Wooden Boat Food Company Chef Thompson Tran

Chef Thompson Tran currently runs his boutique catering company Wooden Boat Food Company specializing in
Vietnamese and French fare in Kitchener, Ontario. His award-winning flagship sauce NUOC
CHAM (dipping/dressing sauce), XA (lemongrass marinade), and KHO (Savoury Caramel BBQ/Stewing Marinade) can be found in over 200 retailers in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

As a former teaching chef instructor Chef Thompson has worked in both the private
and public sector of the food industry and has spent many years honing his skills at
several prestigious restaurants in Vancouver namely Bishop’s, Il Giardino, and
Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club. Chef Thompson can be seen providing lively and
engaging information-packed cooking demonstrations in BC and Ontario.

Chef Thompson holds a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar performance, a
Bachelor of Education, a diploma from Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, and his
level Level 2 Wine and Spirit Education Trust. In his pursuit of happiness, he also
took a two-year hiatus from both cooking and teaching to pursue a musical dream
that culminated in a Grammy Award nomination in 2010.

Chef Thompson now lives in the close-knit community of Kitchener, Ontario with his
lovely wife, two darling children, and their lovable fur ball Jetson.

Alcohol vendors include:

Craft Beer:

Mill Street Brewery
Side Launch Brewing Company
Muskoka Brewery
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.
Shawn & Ed Brewing Company


The Duxbury Cider Co. Ltd.
Brickworks Ciderhouse


Walter Craft Caesar
Top Shelf Distillers
Georgian Bay Spirit Co.


Southbrook Vineyards
The Foreign Affair Winery

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Overfishing is a monumental, global issue. Ocean Wise seafood is a conservation program that makes it easy for consumers to choose sustainable seafood for the long term health of our oceans. The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is our assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. With over 700 Ocean Wise partners with thousands of locations across Canada, the Ocean Wise seafood program makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come.

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