Bowling Guests Over with Kelita Williams' Seafood Chowder

March 11, 2022 | Careers

Bowling Guests Over with Kelita Williams' Seafood Chowder
Bowling Guests Over with Kelita Williams' Seafood Chowder
Bowling Guests Over with Kelita Williams' Seafood Chowder

She doesn’t keep the recipe secret, but no one else can quite replicate Kelita Williams’ award-winning seafood chowder.

“I can give you the list of ingredients, just not the exact measurements because I mostly go by taste,” says Kelita, a cook at DoubleTree Cocoa Beach since 2004. “I keep adding things in until I get it exactly right.”

Getting it exactly right has garnered this cheerful chef plenty of accolades. She enjoyed a four-year winning streak of People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice awards at the Space Coast Food Festival’s Chowder Cook-Off; in 2017, she was honored as the Space Coast Tourism Development Council’s Hospitality Specialist of the Year and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Restaurant Employee of the Year.

“People do love my seafood chowder,” Kelita says.

And now they don’t have to wait for the annual Chowder Cook-Off to enjoy it, because Kelita’s Seafood Chowder was recently added to the new menu at the DoubleTree’s rebranded restaurant, The Starlite.   

“I put a lot of time into making my seafood chowder, and I put a lot of love into it, too,” says Kelita, who inherited the joy of cooking from her mother, also a chef. “Whenever I’m cooking, I’m thinking about the people who are going to eat it. I want my food to nourish their souls. I’m so happy when I hear a guest say, ‘Ooh, this is so good!’”

She hears that a lot. In fact, locals have started coming into The Starlite specifically for Kelita’s Seafood Chowder, a combination of clams, lobster, shrimp, carrots, celery, onions, spices … and that little-something-extra that only Kelita can add.

“I’m so proud to see my name on our menu,” Kelita says, “but I’ve gotta say: Chef Kati is wonderful, and all of the food here at the DoubleTree is really good!”

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