Chamber announces celebrity judges for annual Chowderfest


ELLSWORTH — A mapmaker and cook, a contractor and a TV reporter and news anchor will serve as the celebrity judges for this year’s Autumn Gold Chowderfest.

The event takes place at Harbor Park on the waterfront in Ellsworth on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

This year’s celebrity judges will be Jane Crosen of Penobscot, Caitlin Burchill of WABI-TV5 and Doug King of Associated Builders (winner of this year’s Top Drawer Award from the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce).

Doug King
Doug King
Caitlin Burchill
Caitlin Burchill
Jane Crosen
Jane Crosen

The judges, according to the chamber, “will have the pleasure of tasting nine great chowders and giving out the Judges’ Choice honors in the clam and open chowder categories.”

Crosen, perhaps best known for her hand-drawn maps of Downeast and other Maine regions, is also a cookbook editor and author of “Maine Mapmaker’s Kitchen: Creative, Healthy Recipes for Home, Camp and Afloat.”

Using natural ingredients and local and homegrown foods, the recipes in the cookbook range from rustic to original. Many of them are simple enough to prepare in a camp kitchen or the galley of a small boat.

As a creative cook, Crosen enjoys whole-grain baking and cuisines of the Middle East and Mediterranean. Her husband also makes delicious soups. She said she knows a good chowder when she tastes one and looks forward to helping judge this year’s Autumn Gold Chowderfest.

Burchill is well known in eastern Maine for her reporting for WABI-TV5 in Bangor, where she also anchors the 5 p.m. newscast each night.

A native of Massachusetts, Burchill earned her degree at Colby College in Waterville. She considers herself a “foodie” and cannot wait to taste the chowders at this year’s annual event.

For the second year in a row, the third celebrity judge will be the winner of the chamber’s Top Drawer Award. This year that was Associated Builders, and Doug King is its president.

King took over Associated Builders from his older brothers when they retired and has continued to run the family’s building and design business. It was started decades ago by the three men’s father and two other business partners.

King was raised in Downeast Maine and is looking forward to tasting the local chefs’ specialties.

Nine chefs will be in the lineup this year, four in the clam chowder division and the other five in the open chowder division.

The clam chowder division will feature:

  • Chef Brian Langley, Union River Lobster Pot
  • Chef Virginia Moscato, Jasper’s Restaurant
  • Chef Matthew St. Germaine, Finn’s Irish Pub
  • The Dorr family chefs, Dorr Lobster Co.

Those competing in the open chowder division are:

  • Chef Wayne Clark from Betty’s Hilltop House
  • Chef Alex Grant, Big Cat’s Catering
  • Chef Aaron Porter, The Cellar
  • Chef Peter Huckins, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital
  • Chef Jason Clay, Governor’s Restaurant and Bakery.

Admission to Chowderfest is $5 per person, to taste all the chowders and vote for your favorites.

Computer Essentials will be tabulating the votes again this year. Music will be provided by Bobbi Lane, and there will also be several pieces performed by the Ellsworth High School show choir.

Free boat rides on the Union River are also taking place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Chowderfest is sponsored by EBS, Merrill Furniture, Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound and Maine Shellfish. The chamber also thanks Friends & Family Market, Ron Fortier and Wallace Tent.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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