As a former employee of Michael's I know for a fact that the chowder that is served at competition is not the same chowder that is served at the restaurant. It has never been in fact. Without giving away the ingredients and getting this post removed I will say a major ingredient is upgraded from "imitation" to freshly steamed and other ingredients are also upgraded for competition. The chowder at the restaurant is excellent but the chowder at the competition is superior. It is just not cost efficient to serve at the restaurant.
The official reason for this is to promote Michael's Seafood by winning the competition and the owners see nothing wrong with cheating to win the title of Best Chowder so long as it promotes their restaurant. They clear their consciences (if they have any) by donating a portion of the sales in stores to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the same group that helped Michael receive a double lung transplant, an extremely risky surgery, allegedly ahead of many other candidates on the transplant list. Check out the ingredients on the list at Harris Teeter. Tell me what ingredients seem like short cuts and then think to yourself, "Would this win the title of Best Chowder In The World?"
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