Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Quahog Challenge Cooks Up Hope for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 10:52 AM
QuahogChallenge17-2.jpgAn attendee samples a stuffed quahog made by Sea Dog Brew Pub in Yarmouth. There were a total of 11 chefs and nine restaurants who competed in this year's Cape Cod Quahog Challenge. 

On a sunny Sunday at the beginning of last month, 11 local chefs and 9 Cape restaurants and their staff chose to donate their time, energy and talents to cooking up some much-needed hope for HAC and the clients they serve.

That hope can in the form of tasty samplers of a regional dish – stuffed quahogs – served up as part of the agency’s 3rd Annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis. “We all have choices for what we do on a beautiful Sunday on Cape Cod and the fact that you’re all here really means a lot to all of us,” HAC CEO Alisa Galazzi told this year’s competitors.

Together, the 11 participants and the nearly 300 people in attendance helped HAC raise more than $30,000 that will go to support the agency’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands.

In the amateur category, Ron Winner led The Shepley Shuckers to their third straight victory, besting newcomer O’Keegan’s Quahogs cooked up by HAC staffer Jodi Keegan. Keegan and her friend Amanda O’Connell dug up all the quahogs, plus blue crabs, that were used in her recipe.

QuahogChallenge17-1.jpgFor the third straight year, The Shepley Shuckers came out on top in the amateur category. 

It was a similar story in the restaurant category where Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar of Eastham, took home its third title. Coming in second and third, respectively, were newcomers Cape Tip Seafood Market of Truro and Wicked Good Seafood Truck of East Falmouth.

When master of ceremonies Matt Pitta of Cape Cod Broadcasting asked Wicked Good Seafood’s Bill Henrique what the secret ingredient was in their stuffies, he replied, “love” to laughter.

Cape Tip Seafood’s Courtney Roach expanded upon that notion when the market was handed its second place trophy. “If you make it with love, it tastes better,” she said.

“It’s all about the love here today,” Pitta chimed in.

And it’s that special ingredient which will make a major difference in the lives of those looking for safe, secure housing on Cape Cod.

To view more photos from the 3rd Annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, visit our Facebook page here

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Shepley Wood Products, Matt Pitta, Quahog Challenge, Ron Winner, Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar, Jodi Keegan

Quahogs for a Cause

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 @ 11:49 AM
Quahog_Challenge_with_Doug_4.jpgSusan Buckley, head chef at Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar, proudly holds this year's Quahog Challenge trophy, as she is joined by her coworkers, including Arnold's owner Nathan Nickerson (left).  

When chef Susan Buckley of Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar took home top honors for the second straight year in HAC’s 2nd Annual Cape Cod Quahog Challenge at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis, she was joined by her older brother David who lives in Wilmington, Vermont. Their mother wasn’t there, but the pair still made sure she took part in the celebration.

“It was so funny. The minute they called my name, he called my 91-year-old mother to tell her I won,” Buckley laughed. “They were all screaming. I come from a rather close family.”

Joining Buckley in the winner’s circle was HAC volunteer Ron Winner whose team, Shepley’s Stuffers, once again was the crowd favorite in the amateur category. There were a total of nine entrants in this year’s challenge, which seeks to find the best stuffed quahog on all of Cape Cod.

Arnold’s has won the first two years of the competition, bringing additional attention to the popular Eastham restaurant. “A guy came in and said he had to try one of them. So he sat and ate it and afterwards, he said, ‘Susie, I see why you won two years in a row. That’s the best stuffie I have ever had in my life,’” she said.

While she welcomes the exposure the quahog challenge brings to the restaurant, Buckley understands the real reward is the good the event does for the community. This year, the challenge raised nearly $20,000 to support HAC’s housing programs on Cape Cod. “The best part is that the proceeds go to help unfortunate people,” in the community, she said. “I feel good about that. It is the icing on the cake.”

Click this link to learn more about HAC's Quahog Challenge. 

Tags: fundraiser, Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Quahog Challenge, Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar

HAC's Quahog Challenge Returns for Second Year

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 11:34 AM
Quahog_Winners_15.jpgLast year's winners of the Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Susan Buckley and Nathan Nickerson of Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar, will be returning to defend their title. 

On Route 6 in Eastham, there’s a large poster of chef Susan Buckley proudly holding a gold trophy with a quahog on top with the words, “2015 Winner of Best Stuffed Clam on Cape Cod” emblazoned on it. 

That image, which hangs in front of Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar, was taken shortly after Buckley won last year’s inaugural Cape Cod Quahog Challenge at Trader Ed’s in Hyannis.

Organized by HAC, the summer event is a way to highlight a regional culinary favorite all while going to support the nonprofit’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the islands. Featuring some of the top local restaurants and chefs, the challenge seeks to find the best stuffed quahog on all of Cape Cod.

Last year, that honor went to Buckley who was joined at the event by Arnold’s owner Nathan Nickerson. As the reigning champs, the pair will be back to defend their title.

As for their chances of repeating, Buckley was confident. “I’m very proud of these,” she said of the restaurant’s stuffed quahogs. “It took a long time to perfect them.”

List of Competitors Growing
Returning to the challenge is Trader Ed’s and Spanky’s Clam Shack in Hyannis. Joining them are newcomers Wicked n’ Wood, a catering business owned by Falmouth’s Dan Sawyer, and Buddha Belly Kitchen, a food truck owned by Chadchai Lohr.

When asked what makes a great quahog, Sawyer answered simply, “it starts with a good, clean, fresh quahog.” His recipe features Portuguese bread and mixes in a signature butter that includes either honey garlic, toasted coconut or sweet chili lime.

Stuffed quahogs, he said are “a Cape Cod tradition” and he was eager to submit his entry into this year’s competition.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Billy Moore, owner of Spanky’s Clam Shack. Like the other competitors, he expressed confidence in winning, but stressed the most important aspect of the challenge is that it benefits HAC.

“The thing I liked most was the sense of joy in knowing that you are helping out the less fortunate through Housing Assistance Corporation,” Buckley said in agreement.

jump-for-joy-doug-1.jpg

Are You Up for the Challenge? 

If you're a chef or restaurant owner and you want to compete in the Cape Cod Quahog Challenge on Sunday, August 7, from 1 to 4 pm, at Trader Ed's, contact HAC's Deanna Bussiere at 508-771-5400, ext. 270 or at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org

Click here to learn more about the quahog challenge. 

Tags: Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Fundraising, HAC Events, Quahog Challenge

HAC's Inaugural Cape Cod Quahog Challenge a Success

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 10:21 AM
describe the imageNathan Nickerson (from left) and Susan Buckley of Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar celebrate their win with Kenny Mansbach and Ron Winner of Shepley Wood Products who took home top honors in the amateur category. 

There is an adage that procrastination is the enemy of success, but that concept was flipped on its head when Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar came away with the top prize at HAC’s inaugural Cape Cod Quahog Challenge.

The popular Eastham clam shack was the last entrant, signing up less than a week before the challenge where they joined seven other area restaurants competing for bragging rights to determine who makes the best stuffed quahog on Cape Cod. Apparently, that was more than enough time for the restaurant’s chef Susan Buckley to prepare her entry – aptly named Susie’s Stuffies - which attendees voted as their favorite on the first Sunday in August.

“We have a great product, but so do the other restaurants here… It’s really not about whether you win or lose, although it doesn’t hurt to win,” said Arnold’s owner Nathan Nickerson before he talked about the underlying importance of the event. “It is wonderful the programs that HAC has that help people get into housing. They do a great job and it is a great organization.”

“It is always important to give back to the community,” added John Shea, owner of Trader Ed’s in Hyannis, which not only hosted the event, but competed in it.

The setting overlooking Hyannis Harbor on a sunny summer day was ideal for the public to sample stuffed quahogs made by some of the top chefs on Cape Cod. The event was made even more festive with live music provided by Four Guys Cape Cod and appearances by Santa Claus, Cape Cod Country’s lobster mascot, Doug the Quahog, and radio personality Ralphie Marino.

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Over $10,000 was raised from ticket sales, a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and sales of T-shirts that will go to support HAC’s housing programs on Cape Cod and the Islands.

HAC’s event coordinator Deanna Bussiere conceived of the idea with HAC’s director of communications and development Julie Wake and volunteer Ron Winner of Shepley Wood Products – he entered the competition with his coworker Kenny Mansbach, winning the amateur title – earlier this year after the three had seved a meal at the NOAH Shelter. “It was a wonderful way to celebrate a regional cuisine, highlight the great restaurants and chefs on Cape Cod and use it all as a means to give back to the community,” said Bussiere.

2015 QUAHOG CHALLENGE COMPETITORS

Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar (Eastham)

The Improper Bostonian (Dennis Port)

Lost Dog Pub (Dennis)

O'Shea's Olde Inn (West Dennis)

Pilot House Restaurant (Sandwich)

Red Face Jack's Pub & Sports Bar (Yarmouth)

Shepley's Stuffers (Hyannis)

Spanky's Clam Shack (Hyannis)

Trader Ed's (Hyannis)

PROFESSIONAL CHAMPION: Arnold's 

AMATEUR CHAMPION: Shepley's Stuffers

                          SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS!

Cape Cod Broadcasting Media

Cape Save Weatherization

Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Trust

Hyannis Toyota and KIA of Cape Cod

Narragansett Beer

Neighborhood Health Plan

Polar Cave Ice Cream

Shepley Wood Products

Tags: fundraiser, Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, Shepley Wood Products, Quahog Challenge, Ron Winner

HAC Aims to Find Best Stuffed Quahog on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 04:46 PM
DSC 1113 resized 600HAC's Deanna Bussiere chats with illustrator John Sullivan who created the logo for The Cape Cod Quahog Challenge. 

When it comes to food, perhaps no dish is as synonymous with Cape Cod as the stuffed quahog.

And that appetizer will be the centerpiece of a summer showdown in Hyannis, The Cape Cod Quahog Challenge, to help raise funds for HAC’s housing programs.

Scheduled for Sunday, August 2, from 1 to 4 pm, at Trader Ed’s, the challenge is intended to be a fun-filled day, complete with live music from Four Guys Cape Cod, that epitomizes what summer is all about.

To add some color to the event, HAC tapped local illustrator John Sullivan to create the logo featuring Cape Cod’s unofficial mascot Doug the Quahog.

The former teacher and head of the drama club at Barnstable High School, Sullivan has long had a passion for art. “When I was a small child, I would always be drawing,” he said.

That passion led him to Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he received his bachelor’s degree in illustration and filmmaking. After graduating from there in 1974, he returned to Mass Art to get his master’s in education, later parlaying that degree to his 34 years of teaching at Barnstable.

DSC 1117 resized 600

During his time there, his drama club students actively took part in HAC’s Cape Walk to End Homelessness, an event no longer held, so Sullivan is quite familiar with the agency’s work. “I can’t think of a more worthy organization on Cape Cod right now because family is home and home is family,” he said. “If you don’t have a home, you can’t keep your family together.”

Because he identifies with the mission of HAC, Sullivan was more than eager to accept HAC’s invitation to lend his talents to the quahog challenge. And it was more than a fitting assignment for Sullivan who, along with former student Andrew Rapo, has created the Boston/New England Emmy-nominated children’s show, "Quahog Corner." 

Sullivan also crafted the lobster mascot for Cape Country (103.9) which is owned by Cape Cod Broadcasting, the media sponsor for the quahog challenge.

Though officially retired, Sullivan enjoys these types of assignments that let him express his creativity. “It just makes me smile when I’m drawing,” he said. 

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Tags: housing, Julie Wake, homelessness, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Cape Cod, Quahog, Quahog Challenge