Chefs Eyed For Trade Show Competition

OCEAN CITY – Preparations are underway for the 36th Annual Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Spring Trade Expo, being held on March 7-8 at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

An important component of the Expo is the Delmarva Chefs & Cooks Association (DCCA) Sysco Eastern Md. Regional Cuisine Competition, which will focus on regional cuisine, such as chicken, oysters and clams. Chefs and cooks will test their skills to see who will win bragging rights.

“We wanted to challenge the chefs in the immediate area as there is an enormous amount of talent right here in our backyard,” said Centerplate Executive Chef and organizer Gary Leach.

To enter this competition, one must be from the Delmarva area, east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, south of the C & D Canal and north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Each competitor will have two hours to complete four portions (three portions to judges and one for display) of each a signature appetizer (can be salad, soup or hors d’ oeuvre) and an entrée utilizing each item. At least one item of the three regional items should be used in each course and each of the three regional cuisine items must be used. Each competitor must provide a recipe for each dish to be displayed at their station. All recipes will become property of the DCCA. The break down of time is as follows – 1.5 hours to prepare items, 15 minutes to serve and 15 minutes to clean station.

Judges will be a panel of three food and beverage industry or aquaculture-related professionals not related to the DCCA and will be non-partial in their decision. Scores will be tallied on 60 percent taste, 15 percent creativity, 15 percent presentation and 10 percent sanitation skills and will be based on a numerical system averaged. The three highest scores over both days will be the winners. Once judging is complete, the awards will be presented on Monday, March 8.

In addition to bragging rights, the first place winner will receive $1,000 cash prize and a trophy, second place is $300 and third place is $200. The entry fee is $100 for DCCA members and $225 for others. In addition, MarJac Poultry will present a $200 gift card to the chef/cook with the best utilization of chicken thighs. Priority will be given to DCCA members first.

To enter, contact Leach at or 410-723-8658. Applications and recipes must be received before Feb. 28, with starting times assigned and distributed via e-mail or phone by March 2.

Expo hours are March 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and March 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the 36th Annual Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Spring Trade Expo is free to those who are legitimately in the industry and have pre-registered on-line. On-site registration is $10. Attendees must be in the industry and be at least 21 years of age. For more info, check out