The Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co. takes the Great Chowder Contest

John Robert Hill and J.B. Blau took first place with their M.V. Chowder Co. recipe. —Marnely Murray

The 32rd annual MVY Radio Great Chowder Contest to benefit the Red Stocking Fund of Martha’s Vineyard was a crowd-pleasing success on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Kelley House parking lot. Sponsored by MVY Radio, Edgartown National Bank, and the Edgartown Board of Trade as part of the annual Christmas in Edgartown celebrations, the Great Chowder Contest brought together 11 participants to showcase their chowders. Cooking this year were Harbor View Hotel, Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co., Martha’s Vineyard Insurance, Martha’s Vineyard Rotary Club, the Newes From America Pub, the Wharf Restaurant, the Terrace Restaurant, Lucky Hank’s, the Beacon of Hope Church, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and the MVRHS Culinary Arts Department.

Brenda Cruz and Kayleen Guerrette from Beacon of Hope Church. —Marnely Murray

With temperatures in the high 20s, it was the perfect day for a chowder contest. As the doors opened for guests, participants poured chowder into cups as fast as humanly possible. First-place winner in the clam chowder category, the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co., was served up by J.B. Blau and John Robert Hill. ChoCo, as it is popularly known, has won the award three times: in 2010, 2015, and now in 2016. Fans say their chowder needs to be packaged and sold nationwide; after tasting it, I can agree. “I’m proud of our team; hundreds of people came and voted, and we are fired up to have won,” Mr. Blau wrote in an email to The Times. “The biggest winner was the Red Stocking Fund, which raised over $7,000.”

First-place winner in the seafood chowder category was the Newes From America Pub, with a Portuguese Seafood Stew packed with garlic, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, spicy sausage, haddock, and fresh herbs. It had a great kick to it — just what guests needed to warm up!

Chef Richard Doucette of the Harbor View Hotel served up a gluten-free chowder. The gluten wasn’t missed —

Craig Mundt and Remy Steele from the Wharf. —Marnely Murray

 it was creamy and packed with smoky bacon flavor. The Martha’s Vineyard Insurance team also stood out, not only for the energetic staff, but because the chowder had roasted garlic in it, which made for a delicious flavor. Although it was not classic, it was still superb. Another unique chowder was served up by the Martha’s Vineyard Rotary Club, packed with smoked poblano peppers, corn, and bell peppers, with only a hint of cream to bring it all together. It was a very Southwest take on an authentic New England recipe. 

MVY Radio’s Great Chowder Contest is awaited every year, and we look forward to next year’s contest.  Till next year, chowder lovers!


This article by Marnely Murray originally appeared on