Westwood Chamber seeking entries to 2013 chowder cook-off
Jan. 10, 2013 — The 4th Annual Westwood Chamber Chowder Cook-off is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Lassen County Visitor Center-Westwood Station and everyone is invited to pull out their best chowder recipe. The cost per entry is $20.
Entry forms are available at westwoodareachamber.com and in Westwood at Young’s Market and Moonlight Bar & Grill. The entry deadline is Friday, Jan. 18.
Several awards are given that include first, second and third place, as well as the “People’s Choice” award and “Best Decorated Booth.” The Mississippi Crab Crew, led by Emily Rice, has won the “People’s Choice” award for three years. In 2012, Michael Scalmanini built a crab shack and was given the trophy for “Best Decorated Booth.” The theme for the booth should fit the type of chowder being prepared.
Because the cooks go out of their way to produce great recipes, the event attracts a good-size crowd. Last year, 392 tasting kits were sold, which include a bread bowl. People who purchase the kit are able to have the bread bowl filled with their favorite chowder once they have finished tasting.
Yet the chowder is not all that comes with the tasting kit. Teams not only try to outdo one another with the chowder recipe but with the appetizers and desserts they hand out. However, the extras are optional and teams are only required to produce two gallons of chowder.
According to the rules of the competition, all chowder must be produced on site and teams can set up as early as 8 a.m. They must bring their own tables, stoves and cooking utensils. Ingredients can be chopped in advance and stored in plastic bags. Cans of broth may be used in the soup but all cooking must be done on the premises.
The chowder will be judged in a blind tasting by a panel of impartial judges.
In addition to chowder tasting, the event includes a variety of venders selling handmade and unique items. A band will entertain during the event as well.
The event is held whether snow or sunshine and takes place outdoors so contestants and those tasting chowder should dress warmly. The Lassen County Visitor Center is located at the intersection of 3rd and Ash streets next to the railroad tracks.
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