John McGrath and Frank Walsh from The West receive their award from Martin Shanahan. Pic: John Allen

THE West Bar and Restaurant from Westport, Co. Mayo were crowned national champions at the second annual National Chowder Cook-Off which took place on the grounds of Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale on Sunday.

John McGrath and Frank Walsh from The West were presented with their award by Fishy Fishy’s Martin Shanahan after their chowder was voted the best by members of the public.

Julianna Power enjoying the chowder pictured with dad Michael and mum Alex. Pic: John Allen

The competitors, made up of chefs, fishermen and commercial chowder producers travelled from all 32 counties of Ireland to participate in the cook-off, where members of the public were the judges.

On entry each received a voting card which allowed them to sample all chowders from the individual stalls and cast their vote to crown Ireland’s nation chowder champion 2012.

Kinsale’s own White Lady Hotel took second place while the Belfast Cookery School representing Antrim completed the top three.