In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until it renders fat and crisps at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, leeks, celery and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the red bell pepper and thyme, then stir in the sherry and reduce for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, corn, crabmeat and Old Bay seasoning and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Combine the parsley, chives and lemon peel and sprinkle over the chowder. Pass oyster crackers around the table.