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Cedar Key Chowder takes New England - again

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By Kellie Parkin

Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder successfully defended its championship title at the 29th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off last weekend in Newport, Rhode Island.

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“It was as busy this year as it was last year,” said Eric Jungklaus, chef and owner of Tony’s Seafood Restaurant – home to Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder. Eric named the restaurant after his brother who helped him get established on the island in 2005. 

The Tony’s crew went through 145 gallons of chowder on Saturday. “We prepped 150 gallons,” Eric said. “I had one five gallon container left when it was over.”

Event organizers haven’t released the number of voters or the percentages, Eric said. “But they said we won by a wide margin – a landslide,” he said. “And we could feel it throughout the day – it reminded us a lot of last year the way people responded to the chowder.”

In addition to the title of World Champion Clam Chowder, the contest also came with $1000 in prize money. Last year, Eric donated the cash purse to the culinary students at Bristol Plymouth Tech who were assigned to assist him at the competition. Two of those same students, along with two new culinary students, were back this year to help defend the title.

This year Eric is once again donating the prize money – but this time he decided that he will split it – half to Bristol Plymouth Tech, and half to Cedar Key School.

Eric is already planning his next – and final – victory.  “Now all we can do is go back one more time – then they’ll retire us into the hall of fame and this recipe won’t be allowed back into the competition.”