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30th Annual Chowder Cook-Off Winners

Over 1,000 people attended the 30th Annual Chowder Cook-Off with a Twist, Friday night, in Port Canaveral to taste the best chowders and twists on the Space Coast.

This year’s Chowder Cook-Off included a silent auction, raffles, multiple vendors, a bar, live entertainment, prizes and delicious food.

Seven judges, including local Greg Pallone from News 13, Howie Dorough from the Backstreet Boys, Port Commissioner Wayne Justice, Mike and Mindy from Lite Rock 99.3, “Wingnut” from 95.1, and professional chef Luis Reyes from Sysco, deliberated for nearly two hours while they personally taste tested each item.

Howie Dorough & Greg Pallone
Howie Dorough & Greg Pallone

The star of Friday night’s show was, of course, the chowder. Resident’s from all over the Space Coast came to this event to taste and decide who had the best chowder and twist.

The big winner of this year’s Chowder Cook-Off was Rockledge Country Club, who took home first place for people’s choice and judges pick, for having the best chowder.

Other winners from Friday night’s Cook-Off included Grill’s, for having the people’s choice award for best twist, and KSC’s Visitor’s Complex receiving first place for judge’s pick of best twist.

Don’t forget about Baja Tavern, winning second place for three awards; people’s choice for best chowder, the judge’s pick for best twist and judge’s pick for best chowder.

Baja Tavern & Eats
Baja Tavern & Eats

Key Lime Pie Company, Wild Ocean Seafood Market, Salt at Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront and Mambos Beachside Bar and Grill were also big winners from the 30th Annual Chowder Cook-Off with a Twist.

A few of the raffle prizes that event attendees won were gift cards to Cobb Theater, Papa Vito’s and Nolan’s Irish Pub, an airboat ride for two, a Hot Rayz limo ride, a wine basket, a $595 cash prize and raffle for two tickets to Runaway Country Music Festival.

Kaye Gordon won the raffle for the tickets to Runaway Country and said she was extremely happy and thankful for her big win.

“Cool thing is my daughters and I were planning to go anyway and it’s just going to be a complete family trip. It’s going to be awesome,” Gordon said.

Gordon has gone to Runaway Country three years in a row and she is especially excited to see Blake Shelton at this year’s festival.

Christina and Donald Wood, from Melbourne, have been coming to the Chowder Cook-Off for nine years and said this year’s event was one of the best.

Donald & Christina Wood
Donald & Christina Wood

The Wood’s said they enjoyed this year’s cook-off more than previous year’s because the venue was so much larger than all of the others, which gave guests much more room to observe and enjoy their chowder.

Donald Wood also mentioned that this year’s Chowder Cook-Off had more vendors than the past cook-offs.

The Woods have gone VIP every year they have attended the Annual Chowder Cook-Off and highly recommend it for anyone, who plans on going in the future.

“You get to try everything before the crowd gets in here and now we can sit back and relax and enjoy our beer. We may go back and have a little taste here and there,” Mr. Wood said.

This was the first Chowder Cook-Off for Salt at Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront chefs Ellen Ross and Glenn Gilber.

Ross and Gilber put a lot of hard work into their chowder, with a total of five to six hours of preparing and cooking for Friday’s event.

“It’s so fun! Interacting and talking with all the people is what makes this event so fun,” Ross said.

Resident’s from Brevard County were extremely impressed with the food and new location of the 30th Annual Chowder Cook-Off with a Twist, suggesting that this was the best year yet.

30th Annual Chowder Cook-Off With a Twist Winners

People’s Choice “Twist”

1st – Grills: Ahi Poke – Tuna
2nd – Florida Key Lime Pie Company: Key Lime Pie
3rd – Wild Ocean Seafood Market: Tuna Sandwich

People’s Choice Chowder

1st – The Rockledge Country Club: Crawfish Chowder
2nd – Baja Tavern and Eats: New England Clam Chowder
3rd – Grills: New England Clam Chowder

Judge’s Choice “Twist”

1st – KSC Visitor Complex: Sweet Almond Cornmeal Shortcake
2nd – Baja Tavern and Eats: Lobster Cream
3rd – Salt at Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront -Braised Pork Belly

Judges Choice Chowder

1st – The Rockledge Country Club: Crawfish Chowder
2nd – Baja Tavern and Eats: New England Clam Chowder
3rd – International Palms – Mambos: New England Clam Chowder

Alyssa Brady, Staff Writer

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