Vancouver Chowder Chowdown: All-Star Edition – November 22, 2017

Event Details


November 22, 2017


7:00PM - Late


$75 + GST


Vancouver Aquarium

845 Avison Way, Vancouver, British Columbia


Vancouver Chowder Chowdown: All-Star Edition - November 22, 2017

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Chowder Chowdown Vancouver

Past Champions. Sustainable Chowders & Craft Beer. Come Cast Your Vote

For our 10th anniversary of Chowder Chowdown in Vancouver, we’re bringing back past Chowder Chowdown Champions to compete head-to-head for the title of All-Star Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion. Taste all the delectable original chowders, paired with local craft beer, and vote for your favourite, all in support of sustainable seafood.

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

Purchase your tickets early to avoid disappointment!

Please note: This is a 19+ event. All ticket sales are final.



2015 Judge’s Choice Chowder Champion Chef

Following Georges Auguste Escoffier’s Brigade de Cuisine system of kitchen hierarchy, Chef de Cuisine Roger Ma is the Boulevard general, second in command to only Executive Chef Alex Chen’s commander in chief. And there’s no doubt Roger boasts the necessary experience, expertise and savvy to execute a successful back-of-house battle plan.

Roger began his career in the industry by helping to launch Fifty Two 80 Bistro & Bar at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler in 2004. From there, Roger became an integral part of the kitchen engine that drove a number of restaurants in esteemed chef Daniel Boulud’s empire.

In 2006, Roger rose in the ranks at Boulud’s flagship restaurant, Daniel in New York, from chef de partie to banquet sous chef to sous chef. After six years, Roger took the role of corporate sous chef in Boulud’s Dinex Group and moved on to help open Café Boulud and dBar at the Four Seasons Toronto as well as Maison Boulud at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal before returning to his hometown of Vancouver. Roger is no stranger to accolades either, having claimed the top prize at the 2015 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise™ Chowder Chowdown from a field of 14 chefs.

While both Roger and Alex hail from Vancouver, Boulevard marks only the second time that they have blended their unique talents.

“It’s extremely exciting to be able to work with Alex again” says Roger. “While the menu has a definite West Coast feel, there is also plenty of global inspiration — things that have been influenced by our travels and personal tastes.”



2016 Judge’s Choice Chowder Champion

2016 People’s Choice Chowder Champion

I started working in a commercial kitchen at age 13. My fascination for food began much earlier. Holidays and special occasions in my family meant a day or more preparation in the kitchen. I would often take a stool into the kitchen to help my mother and grandmother prep. At first I got to play with the leftover pastry dough and apple peels, peel carrots and turnips. Later I wormed my way to the stove top, stirring and whisking and feeding my family. A lasting connection between food and family was formed. As a child, I moved a lot. Thirty schools. All over the continent, always the new kid. But I was exposed to many cultures and cuisines. After high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew where I wanted to be. Mountains, ocean, no snow shoveling; I bought a one way ticket to Victoria BC.

After completing a cooking apprenticeship at the Oak Bay Marina Restaurant, I had a hunger for more knowledge. Several years more I spent learning the art and craft of pastry and baking. Still hungry, I traveled to further broaden my culinary horizons. Cooking and working through Asia and Australia opened my eyes to new ingredients and techniques. Craving home, I returned to Vancouver Island and worked in several restaurants championing local food. Cafe Brio, Spinnaker’s,  Temple and ReBar. Drawn to the bounty of the island, I was lured to the Comox Valley, oyster capital of British Columbia, where the number of farms far exceeds the number of restaurants; the valley is a chef’s dream. I took the head chef job at a new restaurant in Comox called Avenue. For six years are forged relationships with the amazing food producers of this wonderful area.

Last year culminated in the realization of a dream that I rarely admitted was mine, and I opened my own restaurant. I called it The White Whale. Thanks, Hemmingway! We are committed to showcasing the bounty of Vancouver Island. We love food, and family. Come join the pod!



2014 Judge’s Choice Chowder Champion Chef

2014 People’s Choice Chowder Champion Chef

2013 People’s Choice Chowder Champion Chef

Long-time sustainable seafood ambassador Ned Bell is the Ocean Wise executive chef based at the Vancouver Aquarium. Bell’s cooking philosophy is globally inspired and locally created. His love of sport, travel and adventure have taken him around the world, creating memorable experiences and cooking up a storm along the way.

With the support of the Ocean Wise seafood program, Bell founded Chefs for Oceans in 2014 to raise awareness about sustainable seafood by riding his bike across Canada. Bell’s dedication to sustainable seafood has inspired many Canadian chefs to get involved in the cause – a movement that is having a meaningful impact on the way consumers think about the seafood they eat, where it comes from and how they, too, can help protect our oceans by making ocean-friendly seafood choices.

Bell was recently awarded the Global Seafood Award for Advocacy at the 2017 Seaweb Seafood Summit. His ongoing efforts have landed him another nomination for this same global award to be announced this summer in Seattle. This recognition, paired with Bell’s diverse British Columbia upbringing, instills a passion for fresh, sustainable and locally sourced cuisine.

He has experience working in some of the country’s top kitchens and was, most recently, executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and YEW seafood + bar, a proud Ocean Wise partner. Bell’s diverse background includes seven seasons on Food Network Canada’s Cook Like a Chef and he has been recognized as Canada’s Chef of the Year at Food Service and Hospitality magazine’s 2014 Pinnacle Awards, Best Overall and Rising Star by Where magazine and Top 40 Foodies Under 40 by Western Living magazine in 2008.



2011 Judge’s Choice Chowder Champion Chef

Chef Paul is a graduate of the Vancouver Community College Culinary Arts Program and holds an advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Before diving in with BRODO, he spent time in the kitchens of The Beach House at Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver, The Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, the Regent at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, Australia, and most recently was the Executive Chef at Local Lounge Grille in Summerland, BC.

Paul gives his spare time to mentor young chefs, is a member of the Canadian Culinary Federation and a director of its Kelowna branch, and is a member of the Chaine de Rotisseurs.

When not in the kitchen, you can often spot him water skiing or on a nearby golf course.



2013 People’s Choice Restaurant

Jennifer Kim is currently working as the chef de Partie at Hyatt Regency Calgary. With the background of Korean-Canadian identity, she quickly fell in love with food from both cultures where the culinary scenes are vibrantly growing with rich history in cuisine. She graduated from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) with Culinary Arts. After earning her diploma, she completed her Red Seal Journeyman certification. She continued to work and built her experiences in Fairmont Banff springs, Fairmont Château Whistler and Hyatt Regency Calgary. In her free time, Jennifer loves travelling to new places and has recently taken interest in photography. Capturing her love for food through photographs has increasingly become a significant part of her life.



2017 Winner of Comox by the Sea’s Ocean Wise Chowder Challenge

Chef Robyn started his culinary career in the nation’s capital where he grew up. After moving to Vancouver in 2011, he had the opportunity to relocate to the Comox Valley where he has continued his pursuit of culinary inspiration under the experienced tutelage of Chef Ronald St-Pierre. He is excited by the bounty the valley provides for culinary experimentation and looks forward to a bright future.



2017 Winner of Devour! Osoyoos’s Ocean Wise Chowder Competition

English born and trained, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts’ (PICA) Executive Chef & VP, Julian Bond boasts 3,000+ alumni spanning the globe.  Chef Bond’s educational passion has garnered industry accolades that include ‘Maître Rôtisseur du Bailliage du Canada’, BBB’s 2014 Torch Award for ‘Marketplace Excellence’ as well as, Where Vancouver Magazine’s 18th Annual ‘Editor’s Choice – Where to Dine Award’ in recognition of “his invaluable mentorship and pioneering contribution to our culinary community”.

Chef Bond is a BC Restaurant Hall of Fame ‘Industry Inductee’ and an inaugural recipient of Vancouver Magazine’s Annual Restaurant ‘Mentorship Award’. Bond has been on the forefront for conservation and awareness initiatives such as, Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Program and Chefs’ Table Society of BC.  Chef Bond is an active promoter, educator and advocate for the betterment of our culinary industry.



2013 Judge’s Choice Chowder Champion Chef

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 the 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, 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, Doug opened two award-winning independent
restaurants, L’Unità and Malena. It was at these two Yorkville eateries Doug continued
his education of Italian gastronomy and established his soulful culinary point of view.
2011 brought Chef new challenges with the fast growing Mercatto hospitality group.
Spearheading an expanding culinary team of close to seventy-five, in a five restaurantstrong
family, he has continued to focus on his honest approach to cuisine with a strong
emphasis on quality ingredients and made-from-scratch dishes.

Charismatic and kind-hearted, 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 Doug.

Through his twenty-one years in the industry, Chef 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, Doug credits the successes in his career to his focus on quality
ingredients and partnering with the greatest of suppliers.



2015 People’s Choice Restaurant

Global experience with a commitment to sourcing local ingredients, makes executive chef Karan Suri a natural fit for Fairmont Waterfront with its rooftop garden and apiary. His culinary tour of duty has included Singapore, Dubai, Nairobi, and New Delhi, working with several Michelin Star chefs along the way. He has won numerous accolades including Best Chef in Kenya (Taste Awards).  Enamored with the west coast and its bounty of fresh seafood, meats and produce, he is enjoying the area’s natural beauty and expanse of space waiting to be explored when he’s not in the kitchen.

Executive Chef Karan Suri: With his jet-setting background and international postings, it’s not surprising that Karan Suri, looked to Vancouver for a tasty adventure.  Now the executive chef at Fairmont Waterfront, his tour of duty has included Singapore, Dubai, Nairobi, and New Delhi, working with several Michelin Star chefs along the way.  Born and raised in northern India, Suri graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management from Indira Ghandi National Open University in 2004.  Classically trained in traditional and contemporary Indian, he is well versed in French, Chinese, Thai and Mediterranean cuisine and recently added Japanese and Italian cuisine to his repertoire. He started his career with the esteemed Oberoi Group in New Delhi, and worked alongside Michelin Star chefs while receiving training at Raffles, Ritz Carlton, and independent restaurants. In 2008, he joined the luxury brand, Raffles and relocated to Dubai where he was responsible for the award-wining restaurants, Fire and Ice, Cellar & Grill, and Azur over his two-year tenure.  He was awarded with a gold medal in Culinary Arts from the Professional Culinary Excellence Challenge, and reached the finals in the popular television show Foodistan, a cook-off between the best Indian and Pakistani chefs.  From there, he returned to Delhi to oversee the launch of the prestigious Leela Palace and refined his skills at the company’s signature restaurants – Le Cirque (awarded 2011 Best Restaurant by Vir Sanghvi) and Megu, renowned for their one-of-a-kind dining and design experiences. In 2012, he joined Fairmont Hotels as Group Executive chef based out of the historic Fairmont Norfolk in Nairobi and oversaw a trio of properties that also included The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club and The Fairmont Mara Safari Club.  He won numerous accolades including Best Chef in Kenya (Taste Awards), and the signature restaurant at The Norfolk, Tatu was ranked in the top 101 restaurants in hotels around the world by the Daily Meal.   At the Fairmont Waterfront, he has embraced the goal of Zero Waste, Ocean Wise sustainable seafood, organic rooftop gardens, uses honey from the apiaries in menus and cocktails, and has initiated a partnership with Wayward Distillery for a private label honey-based spirit.  He is also involved with the Growing Chef program and Britannia Elementary School Kid-chen Cookoff program.  Already enamored with the west coast dining scene he has become the go-to for local restaurant recommendations.  In addition to talking about the culinary scene in the city he can chat about Ocean Wise (the sustainable seafood initiative that was started by the Vancouver Aquarium and has expanded across Canada and select US cities), cooking with honey (from the beehives), Zero Waste certification the hotel has just been awarded and how to reduce kitchen waste, organic gardens on the rooftop.



2010 Judge’s Choice Restaurant

2010 People’s Choice Restaurant

Yosuke Okubo was born and raised in Nagano, Japan and has been in the restaurant industry for over 10 years. He started his culinary journey working in izakaya style restaurants and later ventured in the ramen, washoku and Italian style establishments.

Yosuke has always worked in open concept kitchens. His greatest thrill from cooking is being able to see happy guests enjoy his food. He has a deep appreciation when young people and families enjoy his creations. Yosuke has a dream of one day opening his own restaurant where he only uses the very best of ingredients. Local, natural and organic produce – only the best for his guests. He loves it so much he even has a sleeve of tattoos of fruits and vegetables on his arm. Now that’s a love for fresh produce!

Based at Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour, Yosuke has learned the importance of freshness when it comes to ingredients. Teaming with Ocean Wise products, his fresh, innovative and creative recipes are beautifully featured on Hapa’s ever-evolving menus.

Hapa Izakaya has been voted “Top Five Izakayas in North America” by Bon Appétit Magazine, topping “Industry” and “Readers Choice”, Georgia Straight awards for Best Japanese in 2012 and Best Izakaya in 2014-2016, and “Best Casual Chain” by Vancouver Magazine from 2011-2015.  Hapa continues to offer a winning combination of Japanese cuisine, fun and culture, paired with local seasonal and Ocean Wise ingredients.


2016 Best Beer Pairing

Thompson Tran began his cooking career age14 at his family’s Vietnamese restaurant in Langley, BC by washing dishes and helping out with routine kitchen tasks. Although he spent the majority of his time as a youth studying the musical arts he consistently found himself in kitchen jobs.

In 2002/2006 Thompson went on to obtain a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar performance, a Bachelor of Education and spent several years performing around Western Canada. He took a two-year hiatus from both cooking and teaching to pursue a musical dream that culminated in a Grammy Award nomination in 2010. It was after an 8-month food exploration trip with his wife when, Thompson enrolled at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA), and received a diploma in culinary arts and his level 2 Wine and Spirit Education Trust designation.

He continues to run his boutique catering company Wooden Boat Food Company specializing in Vietnamese and French fare in both Port Moody, BC and 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 130 retailers in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

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. Thompson is a contract chef for Dairy Farmers of Canada’s and is a can be seen providing lively and engaging information-packed cooking demonstrations in BC and Ontario.



2015 Best Beer Pairing Restaurant

Chef Justin Paakkunainen is the Executive Chef for the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel by APA.  Justin was a chef in the Okanagan for 5 years before moving to Vancouver, where he enjoyed the bounty of local and farm fresh ingredients that were at his doorstep. In Osoyoos, Justin was integrated into the food scene – often hosting cooking classes, at-home dinners, as well as supporting local charities through food drives/events. Educated at George Brown College in Toronto, he knew from a young age that his ambitions would lead him to the culinary world. Chef began his career in Thunder Bay, Ontario as a young apprentice. His career carried him from Ontario to Alberta, and then finally to B.C., where he ultimately found his place in Vancouver. Here at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel by APA, Chef Justin aspires to grow and establish our brands ‘Refreshingly Local’ concept as he brings his own personal touch to our Vancouver flagship hotel. Justin enjoys creating simple, fresh dishes using creative, local ingredients.  Justin spends his leisure time cooking for friends, cultivating vegetables, hiking, travelling, and exploring Vancouver’s diverse food scene.


2011 People’s Choice Restaurant

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Overfishing is one of the biggest threats our oceans face today. 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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