Black Rock Oceanfront Resort’s Executive Chef Dan Pietrzak and Sous Chef Andreanne Muller were ecstatic to hoist the Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s Chowder Chow Down trophy on behalf of their culinary team on Sunday. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

VIDEO: Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s Chowder Chow Down winners announced in Ucluelet

The event serves as the largest annual fundraiser for the Food Bank on the Edge.

The West Coast handed out its prized Chowder Chow Down accolades on Sunday with Black Rock Resort and Floathouse Patio and Grill taking the culinary competition’s coveted crowns.

Black Rock was named the Chow Down’s overall winner by an official judges panel of blind taste-testers and the Floathouse was named People’s Champion by the event’s large crowd of chowder enthusiasts.

“I’m super proud. It was a great competition,” said Black Rock’s executive chef Dan Pietrzak. “This was a great community event, we were super happy to be there. Thank you to everybody.”

Floathouse owner Udo Lerch was thrilled to see his team take home the People’s Choice Award.

“I found it totally awesome being around some very talented chefs,” he said. “I tasted all the chowders today and they were all amazing and just to know that we got the People’s Choice puts me over the top…It makes me feel really good that we serve this everyday at our restaurant.”

Seven restaurant’s competed in this year’s event, three from Ucluelet and four from Tofino, serving unique and carefully crafted chowder creations to an expected attendance of over 500 happy eaters.

Andrew and Natasha Newberry of Maple Ridge B.C. were delighted to check out the event while visiting the West Coast.

“We love Tofino and Ucluelet and the community,” Natasha said. “Everyone is so friendly and we absolutely love chowder.

Ucluelet local Alishia Fox said she attends the Chow Down every year and it’s a consistent annual highlight.

“I’m here today to check out all the amazing dishes from all these awesome restaurants on the Coast,” she said. “You just can’t go wrong with an event like this. It’s delicious. I always leave full every year.”

The popular Pacific Rim Whale Festival event is one of the Food Bank on the Edge’s largest annual fundraisers.

“We are so excited,” beamed the Food Bank’s executive director Cris Martin during the event. “The chefs work really hard to bring their best product to us…The chefs are really interested in this event. They’re invested in it and we’re excited because it generates a lot of money for the Food Bank on the Edge.”

She added the Food Bank serves the entire West Coast.

“If they need any help at all it could be just a one time, it could be an ongoing issue for them, we’re here to help singles couples and families meet their food needs every month,” Martin said.

People’s Choice winning Floathouse opened for the season on March 5 and donated all the proceeds from their opening day—an impressive $1,800—to the Food Bank, Lerch said. The restaurant also hosted a Food Bank fundraiser during its last operating day of 2017 to help replenish what was stolen by thieves who had hit the Food Bank in October.

Sunday’s Chow Down competition was held immediately after the afternoon’s Pacific Rim Whale Festival Spout Ball Challenge.

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