Pasadena Italian restaurant Bella Napoli crushed their competition this weekend at the Maryland Seafood Festival, bringing home the first place title in both competitive categories of The Capital's Crab Soup Cook-Off.
This was the 21st annual Crab Soup Cook-Off hosted by the Maryland Seafood Festival, which took place this past weekend at Sandy Point State Park. Restaurants from around the state entered their soups in the competition, presenting vegetable, cream and alternative crab soups to be judged by both the public and a panel of judges.
Bella Napoli has participated in the cook-off for the past three years, winning neither category in 2009, but taking the People's Choice award in 2010 for their cream of crab soup.
2011 proved to be Bella Napoli's year, with the restaurant winning both Judges' Choice and People's Choice for their cream of crab soup recipe at this year's competition.
Pasquale Carannante co-owns the restaurant with his father, Biagio. The pair said that they transported 32 gallons of their winning soup to the festival, preparing it in advance in the kitchen of their restaurant.
“This was going to be the last year we participated in the cook-off,” Pasquale Carannante said, “We are so proud to have swept both categories – People and Judges. It means so much to me to know not only that the community and our customers support us, but also that we were recognized by the panel of judges this year.”
The Carannantes said that, after their sweeping win, they will return to the Maryland Seafood Festival in 2012 to defend their title.
“Last year, I was disappointed not to win the Judges' Choice award,” said Biagio Carannante, “But I said to many people that I was happier to have pleased 1,000 people in the People's Choice category than I would have been to please only five in the Judges' Choice. I'm happy that this year we swept both and pleased everyone involved in the judging.”