Chowder Chowdown Toronto 2012

November 21, 2012, 7pm

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Price: $45 + HST (Adult) 
          $40 + HST (Student)

This is a 19+ event.

Buy Tickets Here.

Tickets can also be bought at the door.


Join us at the Fairmont Royal York this November 21st as some of Toronto's best Ocean Wise chefs battle it out to become the 2012 Chowder Chowdown Champion.  Come and sample delicious chowders, each paired with a different full flavoured beer.  Guests will have the chance to vote on the People's Choice Award, while a panel of distinguished judges will determine the night's winner. 


Le Select Bistro | 432 Wellington Street West, Toronto
Chef: Albert Ponzo

Albert Ponzo has been the executive Chef of Toronto’s uber successful Le Select Bistro for 6 years. He mans the helm of the restaurant’s state of the art kitchen and is the creative force behind its modern rendition of classic French cuisine. Albert passionately supports local farmers working towards sustainability and producing healthier products and is an active member of the Slow Food movement. He is also an apiarist and owns and operates two bee hives.


Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill | 100 Adelaide Street East, Toronto
Chef: Patrick McMurray

After shucking and honing his skills for a number of years in Toronto, Patrick McMurray won the World Champions of Oyster Opening - Galway, Irland, 2002, and the Guinness Book of World Records soon after (33 oysters in one minute).  Lately, he has it down to 38 in one minute.  Patrick has since written a book about oysters, "Consider the Oyster - A Shucker's Field Guide".  Now Patrick owns two successful restaurants in Toronto, Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill and Ceili Cottage.  Starfish specializes in seafood served in a casual setting: fresh fish, oysters (of course) and a good steak thrown into the mix.  The Ceili Cottage is Patrick's Irish "Local", a good bar with great food and music.

Loic Gourmet | 722 Queen Street East, Toronto
Chef: David Kokai

Born in Budapest, chef owner David Kokai has always been inspired by the tastes of Europe. At fourteen, David began his restaurant career in Toronto. In the years since, David has perfected his cooking skills at George Brown Culinary School and such restaurants as Mercer Street Grill, Sauvignon Bistro and Sequel. After a year long trip with his wife photographer Kathleen Finlay eating their way through Europe, David came back to fulfill his dream of bringing his own version of a Paris 'traiteur' to Toronto. Named after his son, Loïc is a neighborhood place where people can find a great tasting meal without having to go very far as well as being a full service caterer.

Trios Bistro at the Toronto Downtown Marriott Eatons Centre | 525 Bay Street, Toronto
Chef: Morgan Wilson

Chef Morgan Wilson began his culinary training in 1989 at the Delta Whistler Resort and then pursued culinary positions in Europe and Asia with The Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels.  After joining Marriott in 1999, Morgan had the honour to represent Canada on an international stage in the famed Bocuse d'Or culinary competition in Lyon, France, and placed 8th as the top-placing non-European Chef. Later that year, Marriott Hotels & Resorts of Canada awarded Morgan an A.C.E. Rising Star. Morgan describes his cooking style as "continually evolving" and he believes that "great cuisine combines two basic components: top quality products and flawless technique."

Port Restaurant | 1289 Wharf Street, Pickering
Chef: Thomas Heitz

Born in Lahr Germany, The Black Forest near the Rhine River an hour away from Strasbourg Alsace France, Chef Thomas Heitz affectation with food was influenced by European culinary focus on fresh ingredients and was nurtured by his mother Silvia’s passion for her career in Hospitality. He worked his way through the ranks starting out as a dishwasher. Coming to Canada he had the opportunity to perfect his obsession with fine gastronomy under celebrated Chefs who were at the top of their professions such as European trained Chef Omar Fathallah, the legendary Sushi Chef Joe Nagata, Executive Chef Mark Marchment, Quebecois Chef Carol Paradis and Michelin Trained Chef Frank Dodd. Today Chef Heitz is an accomplished Executive Chef/Sommelier at Port a casual waterfront oasis restaurant overlooking the Frenchman’s Bay and Lake Ontario.

Calphalon Culinary Centre | 425 King Street West, Toronto
Chef: Alexandra Gaponovitch

Alexandra Gaponovitch has been working in the culinary world since she graduated from George Brown College 5 years ago. She has a wide knowledge and experience gained from many sides of the culinary industry such as, product and recipe development, working closely with Christine Cushing on a TV show, developing recipes for the Sobeys' in-store magazine, to assisting corporate team-building events at Calphalon Culinary Center just to name a few. Alexandra iis very dedicated and passionate about sustainable and local foods. She is working towards gaining her Red Seal Certification and continues to travel and learn about the foods around the world.

Perth Hall at Western University Canada | 1151 Richmond Street, London
Chef: Stacey Blois

Stacey’s inspiration to start cooking came at a young age while helping her uncle in his kitchen.  He taught her to have fun with food and to not be afraid to try new things.  At the age of 17 she was hired as a part time cook at Western University.  In 2008, after working for Western for 10 years, Stacey realized her love of cooking was only growing stronger and enrolled in Fanshawe College’s Culinary Apprenticeship Program.  While in culinary school, Stacey was chosen to go to the University of Massachusettes to compete in an ACF competition, resulting in a silver medal.  Stacey graduated from Fanshawe in 2010 and became unit chef at Perth Hall where she remains today.   

Bruce Wine Bar | 8 Bruce Street, Thornbury
Chef: Shaun Edmonstone

Shaun Edmonstone, Chef of Bruce Wine Bar returns back to home town Thornbury, Ontario from Toronto’s Pangea restaurant as well as the Windsor Arms Hotel. With 15 plus years in the culinary industry, Shaun earned his Red Seal Certification at George Brown School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts in 2005.  Aspiring to sourcing out the freshest, local and even organic produce & ingredients wherever possible, Shaun has a natural instinct when it comes to preparing the most mouth watering food and uniquely plating it.  His passion to forage and bring to the menu nature’s ingredients are patently obvious in the menu. Fiddleheads, Garlic scapes, wild leeks, pickled, and placed on the Bruce Wine Bar charcuterie boards. 

Hooked | 888 Queen Street East, Toronto
Chef: Kristin Donovan

Kristin Donovan began her cooking career in the sophisticated backwoods of Northern Ontario. Living out of a tent, cooking 19 hours a day for a camp of hungry treeplanters in sub zero temperatures, Kristin found her calling. Formal education and training began at the Stratford Chefs School, where Kristin was fortunate enough to work with Ruth Klahsen (Monforte Dairy) and Neil Baxter (Rundles Restaurant). Since graduation in 2001, Kristin has worked with some of the most respected chefs in Canada, including Anne Yarymowich, Chris MacDonald, Jamie Kennedy, Tobey Nemeth, and her husband, Dan Donovan. Most recently, Kristin was Executive Chef at Dish Cooking Studio in Toronto.

Earls Kitchen and Bar | 150 King Street West, Toronto
Chef: Richard Baksh

Chef Richard Baksh is currently the Head Chef of Earls Kitchen & Bar, King Street location. Originally from BC, Richard began his career cooking Mexican cuisine before joining Earls over a decade ago when he took a position at one of the BC locations as a line cook. His work ethic and dedication to fresh cuisine did not go unnoticed and he was quickly expedited through every station in the kitchen. After sharpening his cooking skills Richard was asked to become a regional trainer displaying the same dedication to people development as he did with producing great food and was eventually promoted to head chef. Baksh moved east with Earls as they expanded into Ontario and has since been a key part of Eastern team opening the King Street location as well as the newest location in London. 

Hapa Izakaya | 602 College Street, Toronto
Chef: Takayuki Sato


Originally from Hapa Kitsilano in Vancouver, Chef Takayuki is now the head of the kitchen at the newly opened Hapa Izakaya on Toronto’s College Street. In 2010, Hapa was the first izakaya to join the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ seafood conservation program and one of only a handful of Japanese restaurant partners in the program to date.


EPIC at the Fairmont Royal York | 100 Front Street West, Toronto
Chef: Amira Becarevic

Amira Becarevic, newly appointed EPIC Chef de Cuisine, is a native to Toronto and its culinary scene. Until September 2012 she was EPIC Sous Chef at The Fairmont Royal York and brings extensive experience to her new role as EPIC Chef de Cuisine at the hotel’s flagship dining room. Raised by an avid baker and cake decorator, Chef Becarevic developed her culinary interests when her mother taught her to cook as a young child. After graduating from Liaison Culinary College Toronto from a two year diploma program in 2003, she started her professional career in 2004 as First Cook Tournant on the opening team for the Four Seasons Hotel Whistler. Becarevic is a member of Slow Food Canada, which strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem.



Anthony Walsh | Corporate Executive Chef/Partner, Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants

Carl Heinrich | Partner/Executive Chef, Richmond Station & Top Chef Canada Season 2 Winner

Rebecca LeHeup | Executive Director, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance

Jamie Kennedy | Owner/Executive Chef, Jamie Kennedy Kitchens

Micah Donovan | The Food Jammers


Event MC:

Nobu Adilman | The Food Jammers


Featuring music from Black Mink.

See photos from last year's event here.


Presented by: