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Baltimore Chef Wins National Oyster Cook-off

Josean Rosado, executive chef of the Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore, took top honors in the National Oyster Cook-off, held on October 20 in Leonardtown. Rosado’s Chesapeake Oyster Rockfish Ceviche and Cucumber Granita, took first place in the main dish category and won the overall grand prize.

Sixty-four chefs from as far away as Oregon, Florida and Tennessee entered recipes for consideration in the contest, open to cooks of all skill levels. Of those, nine were selected to attend the St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival, where they competed before three highly-regarded professional chefs – Anne Arundel Community College culinary school instructor Clint Roze; past winner and chef-owner of Café des Artistes in Leonardtown, Loic Jaffres; and the owner and executive chef of Gertrude’s in Baltimore, John Shields.

The judges picked one winner in each of the three categories─ hors d’oeuvre, soup/stew, and main dish ─ based on taste and creativity. Rosado won the overall prize of $1,000, an engraved silver tray, and the honor of the national title. The other category winners took home cash prizes, ranging from $150 to $300.

The hors d’oeuvre winner was Edwin Harmon, also of the Harbor Court Hotel, with his spicy Mozambique Peri Peri Breaded Oysters. The soup category winner was Tom Faglon, a home cook from Somerset, NJ, with his Oyster Royale.

The people’s choice winner was Robert Johnson from Bushwood, Md., with his Seventh District Chesapeake Bay Gumbo. The best presentation award went to Alfredo Malinis, Jr. from Annapolis, with his Oyster on the Half-Shell with Local Plum Mignonette, Shiso and Yuzu Pearls.

Now in its 33rd year, the annual National Oyster Cook-Off is held in conjunction with the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival and the U.S. National Oyster Shucking Championship. The Oyster Cook-Off is sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Seafood Marketing Program, the Rotary Club of Lexington Park and the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development. More than 15,000 visitors attended the two-day festival which featured rows of vendors offering oyster fare and oyster-themed items. Proceeds from the event go to local charities, educational scholarships, assistance grants, and Rotary International projects.

More information on the National Oyster Cook-off is available at