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Westport bar wins world Chowder title

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The West is best as it takes world Chowder title


There was celebrations for the owners and staff of the West Bar in Westport over the weekend after their very own All-Ireland Champion Chowder won the Seafood Category at this year’s 33rd International Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island.
Frank Walsh, co-owner of the West Bar, Westport, and newly married chef Rory McHugh and his wife Ivana, accompanied by Martin Shanahan, Irish TV personality and owner of the award-winning Fishy Fishy Café in Kinsale, travelled to Newport Rhode Island, Chowder Capital of the USA, to take part in the island’s annual Great Chowder Cook-Off.
Kinsale is twinned with Newport, Rhode Island, and close connections have been built up over the years. Martin Shanahan attended the event on behalf of Kinsale’s Good Food Circle, an organisation that produces culinary events and promotions including the Kinsale Gourmet Festival each autumn, and the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off, modeled on the Rhode Island event, each April.
This was The West Bar’s second visit to Newport Rhode Island, where they represented Ireland after being crowned All-Ireland Chowder Champion at the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off at Acton’s Hotel Kinsale in April 2013. Over 900 people attended the Kinsale event, and sampled chowders from 32 entrants, one from each county of Ireland.
The West Bar was partnered in Newport by Chef TR McGrath of McGrath Clambakes, and named their entry ‘Clew Bay Chowder’, after the harbour on which Westport is located.
Frank Walsh, co-owner of The West Bar, was delighted to be a winner at such a prestigious American festival. He thanked chef Rory McHugh, and praised him for his wining way with fresh local seafood.
“The trick is to keep the recipe simple, and use only the freshest and best quality fish to achieve the best flavour,” said Frank.
 Liam Edwards, Chairman of the Good Food Circle, congratulated Frank Walsh and Rory McHugh on their victory, and said: “The West Bar was chosen as a winner by the people who attended the Chowder Cook-Off in Kinsale, and their victory in Newport Rhode Island is a tribute to the high standard of the chowders presented at the Kinsale event. On behalf of the Good Food Circle, thanks to everyone who competed there, and to the public who turned up to support them.”