Pilot story and photos

by Bill Schlichting

Chowder cooks came forward at the last minute to help raise $689 for Oasis Women's Shelter during the eighth annual cook-off at the Port of Brookings Harbor boardwalk.

The sun peeked in and out enough to keep a steady crowd at the two-hour event that had people trying the varieties of chowders made by private citizens, and restaurants as well.

People tasting the chowder were given a ballot sheet so they could decide who made the best in town, whether it be made in a home kitchen or at a restaurant.

Winning first place in the People's Choice Division was Larry Nichols (contestant No. 6), with 38 votes, for his stew made with clams and crab.

Not far behind with 36 votes was John Paul Liddell, No. 42. For his feat, he captured the first runner-up award.

Liddell swept the awards in the 1999 cook-off. He had his awards on display from the year, but was told he had to remove one to leave room to serve the chowder.

Second runner-up was the People's Choice andquot;best for a restaurant.andquot; There is no such award, but the chowder scored the best among the eateries. Hungry Clam, No. 54, garnered 17 votes.

People casting their votes also like the chowder entered by first-time contestant, The Apple Peddler Restaurant. With 15 votes, contestant No. 96, received the third runner-up award.

Apparently, judges Don Tilton, Kevin Bane and Mac Mazzettia had different taste buds. They also had the advantage of cleansing the palate between tastings and could not be influenced by the chefs as they were tucked away in a corner of Slugs 'n' Stones 'n' Ice Cream Cones.

The Apple Peddler's chowder was their favorite in the restaurant division. The Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce will pay the cost of competing in the state chowder competition later this year in Florence.

Ironically, The Apple Peddler manager Steve Armantrout submitted his own chowder in the private cook division, but didn't place.

Winning first runner-up in the restaurant division was contestant No. 83, Scampi's, a little outdoor restaurant owned by Nichols.

Second runner-up was Hungry Clam.

A French provincial seafood stew, known as bouillabaisse, served by Jeff Burke of Sandy's Country Kitchen, contestant No. 77, was the winner of the third-runner up award.

The judges choices for the private citizen entries won cash prizes.

Winning a $50 check for first place was Scampi's owner Nichols for his homemade clam and crab stew.

Ronald Romero, No. 15, entered a Manhattan-style chowder, which won him second place and a $35 prize.

Also entering a red chowder was Michele Thomas, No. 33, who said she was talked into entering three days before the event. She was awarded a $15 prize for receiving third place.

It was never quiet, thanks to the entertainment provided by the Old Time Fiddlers, a group of musicians from the coast

Oasis Shelter volunteers also sold Beanie Babies.