The audience of The Maine Lobster Festival’s annual Seafood Cooking Contest was in Foodie Heaven when they got to sample the contestants’ dishes this year. Sue Jobes of South Carolina was awarded the grand prize of $525 for her Lobster and Scallop Corn Chowder. (Fun fact: Sue previously reigned as champion chef in 2015 for her Peekytoe Crab and “Lobstah” Quiche and again in 2016 for her Chive Parsley Maine Seafood Crepe with Lemon-Orange Butter Sauce!) Using six ears of fresh Maine corn, six strips of bacon, one pound of lobster and one pound of sea scallops, among other ingredients, she transformed the humble New England staple of corn chowder into a delectable comfort food.

Interestingly, the word chowder comes from both “jowter,” the Old English word for a fish peddler as well as the French pronunciation chauderée. As far back as the 16th century, it was the food of working fishermen, which is why Jobes’ recipe was extra special to the people who represent The Maine Lobster Festival.  View the full Lobster and Corn Chowder recipe.

Each year, any amateur chef (18 and older) brings his or her best original recipe to the table during this popular event. The contest audience gets to sample the dishes and pick up the contestants’ recipes after the awards are presented.

A panel of judges picks five contestants to participate in the contest. The recipe can be any dish, savory or sweet, but it must be original and made with seafood found in Maine waters. The top three recipes are chosen as winners and awarded cash prizes.

“One of the judging criteria is simplicity,” said President and judge Celia Crie Knight. “They want to taste a recipe that is delicious but not so complicated that the audience members couldn’t go home and make it themselves.”

Last year, Mainer Eric Frate won the culinary cook-off with his “Clam Jam Casino,” which took the classic Clams Casino and infused it with a bacon, cheese and garlic flavor.

If you want to know who also wowed the judges this year, here are the other winning contestants:

  • 2nd Place – Billy Doukas (Lobster-Crab Etouffee)
  • 3rd Place – Justice Yanik (Trio of Ceviche)
  • 4th Place – Bobby Elliott (Tacos de Pescado)

Do you have what it takes to prepare the winning recipe for next year’s Seafood Cooking Contest? In the past, creative culinary skills came up with dishes such as Seafood Jambalaya, Lobster Fried Rice, Lobster Pasta with Seafood Trio, Philadelphia Lobster Cheesesteak, and the to-die-for brunch dish: Lobster Bonart.

For additional contest details and to download an application form for next year, visit