A year-long effort to find the quintessential Olympic Peninsula Chowder will culminate at this weekend’s Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival.
The 18th annual CrabFest — scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at City Pier and in the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel at 221 Lincoln St. — will host this year Olympic Culinary Loop’s final chapter in finding and honoring the seafood chowder that best exemplifies the Olympic Peninsula.
“We’ve been slurping chowder all year long,” said Steve Shively, the Olympic Culinary Loop’s communications director.
The judging of the champion chowder will be at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Front Street Gateway Center Pavilion.
“No longer will the Pacific Northwest-minded foodies be limited in their ordering to chowders named ‘New England,’ ‘Manhattan,’ or seafood Cioppino hailing from San Francisco, or to Jambalaya influenced by Louisiana,” Olympic Culinary Loop's Shively said. “Once crowned, the winning Olympic Peninsula Chowder is destined to be on menus and taste buds from coast to coast” .
The chowder championship is one of many foodie events planned for CrabFest.
The main event is the crab dinner fest. More than eight tons of Dungeness crab pulled from local waters will be delivered to the plates of festivalgoers in the Crab Central tent all three days. The crab will be served with fresh corn and cole slaw.
Tickets for the full Crab meal are $30 and can be purchased in advance at CrabFestival.org. Military personnel with current active ID will pay $26 for a special crab dinner all weekend and receive 10 percent off on merchandise. Special discounts for Friday and Sunday Crab Dinner tickets can be found online.
Inside Crab Central - and out along the pier - will be other restaurant booths, adult beverages and live music.
Olympic Culinary Loop again produces and presents celebrated Northwest chefs providing cooking demonstrations on the Gateway Center Chef Demonstration Stage from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Sunday.
Featured chefs include pie maker and author Kate McDermott of Port Angeles, who will offer a demonstration Saturday, and “Wild” Bill Ranniger, corporate executive chef for Duke’s Chowder Houses, of Seattle, who take the stage Saturday to reveal the secrets of creating Tempting Thai Ginger Cod in a Coconut Milk Broth and return again at 11:30 a.m. Sunday to prepare Pan-Seared Wild Alaska Salmon.
McDermott’s cookbook, “Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life,” was nominated for a 2017 James Beard Award in Baking and Desserts. In 2018, she released her second cookbook, “Home Cooking.”
McDermott will sign copies of both her books after her Saturday presentation.
Ranniger began his tenure with Duke’s as a chef in 1995, then rose through the ranks from general manager to regional manager to executive chef, a position he has held for the past 15 years.
With restaurateur Duke Moscrip, Ranninger co-authored the 2016 cookbook, “As Wild As It Gets … Duke’s Secret Sustainable Seafood Recipes.”
For more information, see CrabFestival.org, email info@OlympicCulinaryLoop.com call 360-877-4332.