Spa City prepares for 15th annual Chowderfest
While football fans fret over a nationwide chicken wing shortage this Super Bowl Sunday, it's a safe bet they'll at least get their fix of chowder if they visit Saratoga Springs. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on the extensive preparations Spa City restaurants go through leading up to Chowderfest.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – "These three days are going to be absolutely ridiculous,” said Ed Wutka, executive chef at The Parting Glass. “The next three days [will be] 14, 15, 16 hour days."
“There’s quite a bit of planning,” said Jeremy Keough, executive chef at Maestro’s at the Van Dam. “There’s a lot of prep to be involved that starts about a week in advance before Chowderfest even begins."
"It's going to take us, at 10 gallons an hour, 15 hours worth of prep and work,” Wutka said.
“This restaurant, we’ll make about 115 to 118 gallons when it’s all said and done,” Keough said.
With at least 6,000 chowder seeking customers expected to walk through their doors Saturday, it goes without saying that Spa City restaurants are working 'round the clock to gear up for Chowderfest.
"I worked here five or six years ago and it was small, 1,500 cups to 1,000 cups,” Wutka said. “Now to be pushing 8,000 cups is ridiculous. It's a little insane but it's fun."
"I think everybody in town looks forward to this event and does what they think is unique and kind of interesting,” Keough said. “Hopefully people like it.”
Maestro's at the Van Dam and the Parting Glass are just two of the more than 50 businesses that will serve their own brand of chowder Saturday. After winning awards last year, each are looking to outdo themselves.
“It’s different,” Keough said. “It’s kind of a classic chicken and corn chowder with a twist on it, so hopefully people will really enjoy it.”
"There's everything from Old Bay seasons, scrod, crawfish, shrimp, sweet corn, red potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, a bunch of spices, heavy cream, milk, it's delicious," Wutka said.
“Being that I’m from Maine originally, I think chowder is kind of bred in my bones," Keough said.
"I'm from the South,” Wutka said. “So making something with seafood is what I like to do."
“It’s tough work and we kind of dread it but when it’s all over, we’re all happy,” Keough said. “It’s a good event.”
"There's that sense of pride after being able to complete this,” Wutka said. “There's not a lot of people that can complete this weekend like we can."
Chowderfest runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with cups costing $1 at each location.
For a full list of participating restaurants, head to the Chowderfest website.