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December 2019 Notable Maryland Author John Shields

John Shields, CHEF & Food Writer

"As a small boy in Baltimore, I remember my grandmother’s excitement with each approaching season and the treasures it offered for the table.” — Chef John Shields                 

John Shields (Baltimore May 5, 1951) is an American chef and food writer.  Often called "The Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay," John has written multiple cookbooks on the cuisine of the Chesapeake region.  He is also the host of two PBS television shows, Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields and Coastal Cooking with John Shields. 

John’s career began informally.  At a very early age, he worked with his grandmother Gertie Cleary in a Baltimore church hall kitchen. They fixed businessmen’s luncheons and parish fund-raising dinners for dozens to hundreds of guests. John’s professional career began by accident. After studying at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, he moved to Cape Cod to become a rock star. He played the piano in bars. One day an injured friend asked John to work his kitchen shift in a popular Cape Cod inn. That first day making 36 pie shells shifted his focus and morphed into years as a chef, restaurant owner, author, and host of two television shows. Chef John Shields is now a co-owner and proprietor of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art which just ended its 21st year in business.

John has spent decades of exploring and championing the Chesapeake region and his newest book, The New Chesapeake Kitchen, articulates his essential philosophy, as well as his commitment to, and love for the Chesapeake—its land and waters, its people, its history and its food traditions.

His work has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Coastal Living, and Southern Living. He is a frequent guest on WYPR radio, local TV and at public events. John is an active member of many organizations including, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the James Beard Foundation, and the Chefs’ Collaborative.

Genre: Food Writing

A type of writing that focuses on food and includes works by food critics and food historians.  Includes all aspects of food: growing, processing, preparing, nutritional properties, recipes, cooking, social influence, cultural context, regional importance, business impact, personal memories, etc. 

Partial reading list: The Chesapeake Bay Cookbook; The Chesapeake Bay Crab Cookbook; Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields; and The New Chesapeake Kitchen.

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

MWA invites you to have fun being a food writer.  Using just 100 words, pick a holiday and a holiday food and write about it. Include its cultural context, a personal memory, and a preparation tip. Have fun and send us your result.

Submit Your FUN WITH WORDS Prompt

Submit by the 25th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  Selected submissions may be published at the following month.

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