Dining Services wins big at annual Clam Chowder Cook-Off

On Sunday, Feb. 25, UCSC Dining Services competed in the professional division of the 43rd annual Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Clam Chowder Cook-Off, the country's largest and longest-running clam chowder competition. UCSC’s two teams brought back three awards, including the coveted first-place People’s Choice award for Manhattan clam chowder.

The UCSC team awards also included second place for best Manhattan clam chowder as selected by the judges and third place for most tasted Boston clam chowder. UCSC Dining Services now holds 22 awards in this competition since first entering in 2004.

UCSC had two teams in the competition, The Chowder Slugs competing with their Boston clam chowder recipe and The Redwood Sluggers serving their Manhattan clam chowder. Each team prepared 40 gallons of their soup or approximately 1,300 portions. The Boston team served all of their chowder in less than two hours. The event was well attended and the crowd that supported the teams throughout the day was enthusiastic.

The UCSC teams included the following dedicated staff: 

The Chowder Slugs - Boston Clam Chowder

  • Captain, Hans Butler, Unit Manager, Crown/Merrill Dining Hall 
  • Hilary Treece, Sous Chef, Crown/Merrill Dining Hall
  • Elle Vervoort, Sous Chef, Rachel Carson/Oakes Dining Hall
  • Breanna Van Otterloo, Food Safety Nutrition Specialist
  • Eva McClure, Unit Manager, Retail Operations

The Redwood Sluggers - Manhattan Clam Chowder

  • Captain, Traci Takeuchi, Unit Manager, Catering and Hospitality
  • Diego Leiva, Chef, University Center Bistro
  • Mirjam Kuusik, Unit Manager Cowell/Stevenson, Dining Hall
  • Dan Zola, Unit Manager, Porter/Kresge, Dining Hall
  • Bill Prime, Executive Director, UCSC Dining 

The UCSC teams also had the fantastic support of University Catering’s student staff led by Catering Sales Manager, Sasha Nemchonok, and booth decor provided by Eva McCLure, Mirjam Kuusik, and Dining Marketing’s Trea Robinson.

Congratulations to the teams and a heartfelt thank you to all the support staff that made this day so special!