Bill and Lori Mayer of Brigantine - New England Clam Chowder (right) and Clams on the Half Shell. Tuesday June 29 2014 (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Sometimes a little healthy competition is a good thing. Take the Atlantic City Seafood Fest for example. Sure, you could attend and simply head to the different restaurants, sampling the many fruits of the sea that are on offer from each, but you would still be left debating among your friends which spot actually had the “best” crab cake or lobster roll. For those who demand a more definite answer to these types of questions, there is good news. The Chowder Cook-Off returns to the festival this year. That’s right — for the small price of $5, hungry seafood fans can sample chowder after chowder, critiquing each and eventually casting their vote for their one true favorite.

But what makes a great chowder? Ultimately that is up to the taster. Some say it’s the creaminess, others measure it solely on the number of clams that can be found within an individual sample, while others still say it’s the art of blending just the right spices.

“It’s all about the clams,” says festival enthusiast and self-proclaimed “chowderhead” William Cooperman. “Obviously it needs to taste great, but ultimately if you are calling it ‘clam chowder’, the clams need to be the star of the show. Same goes for any type of seafood chowder. The seafood needs to shine.”

Loaded with clams or not, only one chowder will come out on top. And making this contest even tastier is the fact that all proceeds from the Chowder Cook-Off go to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. What better excuse is there to get a little gluttonous?

Speaking of gluttony and competition, the folks at Phillips Seafood will hold a crab cake eating competition each day of the festival. Entrants will attempt to plow through as many of the ultra-filling cakes as they can in order to strut around Bader Field with the ultimate in bragging rights.


When: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and 11.

Where: The A.C. Seafood Fest, Bader Field, Atlantic City

How much: $5


When: 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and 11.

Where: The A.C. Seafood Fest, Bader Field, Atlantic City

How much: Free

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Associate Editor, At The Shore/ACWeekly

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