The U.S. Oyster Cook-off is a contender in the World Food Championships

Cook Off Chefs

Thank you all for your great recipes!

Finalists for the contest have been notified.   If you were unsuccessful this year, we hope to hear from you for next year’s cook off during our 51st Oyster Festival!! 

Oyster Festival Saturday, nine finalists representing several states compete for the $1,000 top prize in the National Oyster Cook-off contest.  Their recipes are chosen from over 150 entries submitted by contestants from many states, and Washington D.C.  The finalists cook their fresh oyster specialty dishes against a time limit for a panel of three expert judges.  

The fresh oyster cooking categories include:

  • Hors D’oeuvres, 
  • Soups and Stews, and 
  • Main Dishes

10:00 – 11:00 Hors d’oeuvres preparation

11:15 – 12:15 Soups and Stews preparation

12:30 – 1:30 Main Dishes preparation

11 AM – 2 PM   Judging – In the Auditorium 

2 PM – Awards Ceremony on the Shucking Stand





John Shields


Rob Kasper


Sandra Martin

Chef, author and television personality John Shields is the owner of the celebrated Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. John is often called “The Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay,” and he has written three popular cookbooks on the cuisine of the region. The 25th Anniversary Edition of Chesapeake Bay Cooking will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2015.John is currently working on The New Chesapeake Kitchen, which will be a call to embrace new growing, producing, eating and cooking practices that are “Healthy for Bay and Body.” The New Chesapeake Kitchen is slated for publication by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2016.

Every spring and fall John goes to local elementary schools volunteering as guest chef for the American Institute of Wine and Food’s innovative “Days of Taste” program. During the Days of Taste inner city students are led to explore the different flavors of healthy food and shown how to prepare a fresh salad from local ingredients.


     Rob Kasper is a Baltimore writer.  For over three decades he  was a reporter, columnist and editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun , often writing about the area’s food and drink.  In the fall of 2011 he left the newspaper to write “Baltimore Beer: A Satisfying History of Charm City Brewing.” The book, published by History Press in Charleston, South Carolina, is now in its fourth printing. In 2014 he wrote “Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell, Stories from the Orioles’ Smokey Slugger.”

He has won numerous writing awards.

The Association of Food Journalists cited his 2008 food columns as among the best in American and Canadian newspapers. This marked the fifth time in two decades that his writing has been so honored by the association. He has also won two National Headliner Awards. His interest in local history and Baltimore brewers led him in 2009 to become a founding member of Baltimore Beer Week, a not- for -profit organization that celebrates the area’s brewing culture.


 Though born in the center of the country, St. Louis, Missouri, Sandra Olivetti Martin grew up eating native Chesapeake Bay oysters. They were a staple on the menu of her family restaurant, as they had been throughout the Midwest during the heyday harvests of the early 20th century, arriving by refrigerated freight train.
Arriving on the Chesapeake’s western shore in 1985, husband Bill Lambrecht and I thought we’d gone to heaven. As eaters, we have bought many a bushel from local oystermen, now aquacultured as well as wild-harvested.
As a journalist and editor, I’ve written and assigned dozens of stories about oysters, oyster ecology, oyster recovery, oyster culture and oyster cuisine. My first, for the Washington Post, drew so many well-read oyster eaters to the Deale Volunteer Fire Department Oyster Roast that fire marshals bared the door.My 23-year-old family-owned newspaper, Bay Weekly — distributing 20,000 papers weekly throughout the Annapolis capital region — nowadays runs stories that offer hope for some recovery of Crassostrea virginica