Natasha Harris wins people’s choice award for her seafood chowder

Natasha Harris won the people’s choice award for best seafood chowder at the Ocean Wise Chowdown in Vancouver Nov. 23.

People’s waistlines were the only casualties of a “chowdown” thanks to a former Ladysmith resident.

Natasha Harris won the people’s choice award for best seafood chowder at the Ocean Wise Chowdown in Vancouver Nov. 23.

She didn’t win top spot awarded by a panel of judges made up of those in the restaurant industry, but that didn’t matter to her — it was what the attendees preferred that mattered to her.

“There were 550 people there, and we went through within the first hour, 700 cups,” said Harris, adding that the event was sold out. “People kept coming back, and we went through 1,500 cups easily.”

Harris served an alder-smoked octopus chowder with cured bacon and a mixture of sable fish, clams, mussels, smoked cheddar and apple with spices and truffle oil.

“It was quite the process having to cut up this 30-pound octopus,” said Harris.

“Here was this huge blob of slime on your cutting board and it smells; it reeks and I have to take off all the membranes, tenderize it, cure it and then smoke it.”

Harris grew up in Yellowpoint and credits her family for inspiring her to become a chef and McNab’s farm for her preference to use local and fresh items in her cooking.