The 36th Annual Clam Chowder
Cook-Off & Festival

Now a 2-Day Event! February 25-26, 2017

Thank you for another spectacular cook-off! Such a beautiful day. We'll see you next year for the 36th Annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off!

Here are the 2016 Clam Chowder Cook-Off winners!


Best Individual Manhattan

  • 1st - Dragon Mama's Portuguese Red (Michele Hartmangruber) Fremont
  • 2nd - Valley Clam Diggers (Steve Olson) Patterson
  • 3rd - Clam Halen (Brad Bishop) Santa Cruz


Best Professional Manhattan

  • 1st - Sanderlings Restaurant (Debbie Hagerman) Aptos
  • 2nd - Amish Paradise (Marc Sacoolas) Scotts Valley
  • 3rd - UCSC Chowder Slugs (Josh Martin) Santa Cruz


Best Individual Boston

  • 1st - 4 Men & A Clam (Wayne Locke) Scotts Valley
  • 2nd - Rack of Clams (Tom Mietz) Santa Cruz
  • 3rd - Pete's Clamtastic (Peter Waligora) Salinas


Best Professional Boston

  • 1st - Sutter Maternity Surgery Center (Todd Stull) Santa Cruz
  • 2nd - Ideal Bar & Grill (Jesus Garcia) Santa Cruz
  • 3rd - Team Aquarius (Jose Landeros) Santa Cruz


Most Original Team

  • 1st - Clam Rock (Christopher Hirz) Gilroy
  • 2nd - Saved by the Shell (Ryan Johnson) San Jose
  • 3rd - Knights of Clamalot (Barbara Defries) San Pablo


Most Tasted Overall

  • 1st - Silence of the Clams (Brian Edwards) Campbell
  • 2nd - Rosie's Clam & Get It (Bob Dixon) Soquel
  • 3rd - 4 Men & A Clam (Wayne Locke) Scotts Valley


People's Choice

Individual Manhattan:

Wine with Swine (Mark Brown) San Jose


Professional Manhattan:

Sanderlings Restaurant (Debbie Hagerman) Aptos


Individual Boston:

4 Men & A Clam (Wayne Locke) Scotts Valley


Professional Boston:

Sanderlings Restaurant (Mario Garcia) Aptos

Join the festivities as costumed chefs prepare their finest clam chowder recipes outdoors along the Boardwalk to the delight of spectators eager to sample their favorites.

Both amateur and professional chefs from all over Northern California compete in the friendly competition, hoping to win prizes and bragging rights for BEST CLAM CHOWDER!

Cook-Off Schedule

  • 10:00am Tasting Kits go on sale
  • 10:00am-11:00am Preparation period (no heat)
  • 11:00am-1:00pm Cooking period
  • 1:00pm Public tasting begins
  • 4:00pm Winners announced at the Beach Amphitheater

Try Some Clam Chowder

Boardwalk admission is free! You may purchase tasting kits to sample the clammy concoctions.

Tasting Kits are $10 each.

Each Tasting Kit Includes 6 taste tickets, spoon, cup, and a People's Choice ballot.

100% of Tasting Kit sales benefit Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation.


Team Competition


The competition features four categories:

  • Amateur Boston
  • Amateur Manhattan
  • Professional Boston
  • Professional Manhattan

Awards will be given for Best Clam Chowder in each category, plus People's Choice, Most Tasted, and Most Original Booth. Awards include plaques, cash prizes, round trip airfare courtesy of United Airlines, and bragging rights!

For more information please contact the Chowder Committee: (831)420-5273.

City of Santa Cruz Logo

The Cook Off is an important fund-raiser for the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department.
(Last year more than $60,000.00 was raised.)

Thank you to our Clam Chowder Cook-Off sponsors!

Berkely Farms
Dream Inn
Crystal Springs
The Hippo
Good Times
Back to top


Join the Big Kahuna Club

Sign up for a monthly round-up of the latest Boardwalk discounts, special events, and insider news!

Share This Page