Forage chef Chris Whittaker basks in Chowdown glory, with the original painting (included in his prizes) used for the contest promo, TP Photo

Just a day after Forage officially opened, chef Chris Whittaker has been crowned Chowder Chowdown Champion at the Vancouver Aquariums keenly contested annual sustainable seafood celebration.

Whittaker’s dish wowed not only the critics’ judging panel (on which we assisted) but also walked away with the People’s Choice. It was paired with Granville Island Brewing Kits Maple Cream Ale.

The dozen entries were scored taking into consideration everything from use of local, Ocean Wise ingredients to presentation and creativity on the plate and, of course, ultimately, taste.

Tasted as good as it looks …

Whittaker showcased his creamy spot prawn chowder with crunchy, smokey chicharon (pork rinds) topped with a perfectly poached quails egg. Presented in the restaurant’s hallmark miniature skillet, and packed with tender, superbly sweet—and precisely, just-cooked spot prawns—the dish was a stunner, both visually and on the palate.

In short, we can’t wait to head to the restaurant to try it again!

With its comprehensive, sustainable approach that incorporates Green Table, LEED-certified kitchen equipment, BC Hydro Power Smart partnership, and Live Smart BC certification, Forage was already poised to be a game-changer.

Behind the scenes. while construction was held up for a few weeks, Whittaker was busy shaping his menu and preserving key seasonal ingredients for year round use. Evidently, it was time well spent.

Now the wraps are off the Evoke designed room, and Whittaker finally gets to unveil his menu—which more than lives up to his mantra.

Stay tuned for plenty more to come from the foraging chef