In October, U.S. National champion oyster cooks and shuckers were selected at the 51st Annual U.S. Oyster Festival held in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
Chefs from across the country participated in a timed competition. As part of the festival, this year’s National Oyster Cook-off featured nine contestants selected in a blind evaluation of their recipes.
Recipes were submitted for the categories of hors d’oeuvres, soups and stews, and main dishes, all featuring oysters. Finalist chefs hailed from not only Maryland and Virginia, but also California, Oregon, and New Jersey.
The grand prize winner, and taking first place in hors d’oeuvres, was Hidemi Walsh of Centreville, Va., with her Miso-Mayo Oyster Gratin.
Placing first in the soups and stews category was Tammy Davis of Chesapeake Beach, Md., who served up Oyster Pan Roast with Harissa and Spicy Pita Chips. She also won for best presentation.
Finally, rounding out the top three from Long Beach, Calif., was Mary Edwards who presented her Thai Red Curry with Crispy Oysters as a main dish.
The crowd favorite for People’s Choice Award, and garnering second place in the Main Dish category, was Debbie Reynolds of Waldorf, Md., with Oysters Fra Diavlo with Creamy Parmesan Polenta.
The grand prize winner is eligible to compete in the World Food Championship in Orange Beach, Ala., billed as “the largest competition in Food Sport,” where grand champions of previous events convene for a chance at winning the ultimate food crown.
The festival also featured the 2017 U.S. National Oyster Shucking Contest. Cathy Milliken, former 2002 National U.S. Oyster Shucking Women’s Champion, won the 2017 Woman’s U.S. National Oyster Shucking Champion.
The 2016 U.S. National Oyster Shucking Champion, Honor Allen, won the grand championship once again in 2017 with a record final time of 2 minutes 12 seconds.
Allen, 23, is from Panama City, Florida and holds a number of shucking titles leading to his national victory. Allen successfully competed in the Galway, Ireland International Oyster Opening Contest in 2017 and will compete again in 2018.
Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding consumers that autumn marks the beginning of Maryland’s oyster season. The Department’s seafood marketing program recently unveiled oyster billboards in the Baltimore metro area and other sites as well as sponsoring the Annual U.S. Oyster Festival.
To learn more about Maryland seafood, go to www.marylandsbest.net.
source: Maryland Department of Agriculture