The Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest

Each year, amateur chefs compete in the annual Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. The event attracts visitors and contestants from all over the world, as well as print and broadcast media channels.

Amateur chefs age 18 and older compete for $525 in prize money during this popular event.

A panel of judges select the winner based on creativity, suitability of the seafood to the recipe, and simplicity.

Left: Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest 2019 third place: Justice Yanik and his Trio of Ceviche; Center: 2019 Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest 4th Place Bobby Elliott for Tacos De Pescado; Right: 2019 Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest 1st Sue Jobes for Lobster & Scallop Corn Chowder

The recipes can be any dish and must contain seafood found in Maine waters.

The contest begins at 9 a.m., Friday, August 2, 2024 in the North Entertainment Tent on the festival grounds. Judging begins at 11:30 a.m., with prizes announced and awarded around 12:30 p.m. First prize is $200, second prize is $175, and third prize is $150.

The contest audience will have the opportunity to sample the prepared recipes in the cooking area and pick up the contestants’ recipes after the awards are presented.

For additional contest details, contact Celia Knight by e-mail at [email protected] or call 207-542-1192.

Applications are due July 15, 2024.

Watch the 2023 Seafood Cooking Contest


1st Place – Hilary Mallette (Lobster Andouille Sausage and Grits)

2nd Place – Joseph P. Veruto (Joe’s Seafood Stew)

3rd Place – Janice Abendroth (Haddock Jan)

4th Place – Christopher Panella (Lobster Mac n Cheese Rangoons)

5th Place – Manny Chapilliquen (Happy Lobster Ceviche)

Call for Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest

Amateur chefs are invited to sign up for the annual Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. The contest is part of the annual Festival which is held at Harbor Park in Rockland, Maine along the city’s waterfront.

Eligibility: The contest is open to amateur cooks only, 18 years or older. Maine Lobster Festival members or directors, employees of Bangor Daily News and professional food experts are not eligible.

Requirements: Recipes must be original, not copied from any source. Recipes must contain seafood found in Maine waters (can be fresh, frozen or canned). Contestants must bring their own utensils and all ingredients necessary to make recipe, a table setting/décor for presentation, and a cooler, if needed. Contestants will be reimbursed up to $50 for ingredients. Receipts must be provided for reimbursement. Stoves and preparation space will be provided for contestant’s use.

Selection Process: Five contestants will be chosen from all submissions. Multiple recipes per contestant may be submitted. However, only one recipe per contestant will be selected, and each recipe must be submitted in a separate application. Each recipe must list all ingredients and amounts. Recipe must include a full explanation of preparation, cooking requirements, and time necessary to make recipe from start to finish. In the event of similar recipes, the earliest entry will be considered. Deadline for submitting recipes is July 15. Selected contestants will be notified by July 17. A panel will select the final five recipes based on creativity, suitability of the seafood to the recipe and simplicity.

Contest: Selected contestants will prepare their recipes on the Festival grounds, Friday, Aug. 2, 2024. Setup and preparation starting time is 9 a.m. Judging begins at 11:30 a.m. Prizes will be announced and awarded around 12:30 p.m. The contest audience will have an opportunity to sample the prepared recipes in the cooking area after awards have been presented. First prize – $200 / Second prize – $175 / Third prize – $150. Lead sponsor for this event is Fiore Olive Oils and Vinegars.

By signing above, I state that I am an amateur cook and the recipe submitted is an original recipe. In consideration of the acceptance of the entry, I hereby waive and release any and all rights and claims for damages I may have against the sponsors and officials of the Maine Lobster Festival for any and all injuries suffered by me in the cooking contest.
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2022 Seafood Cooking Contest Winning Recipe: Summer Peach, Burrata and Lobster Salad – By Clair Pagnano

Serves 4-6


  • 2 four-ounce balls fresh burrata cheese
  • 4-8 fresh ripe summer peaches
  • Picked lobster meat from 2 cooked lobsters
  • 3 ounces of Serrano ham
  • ½ cup chopped roasted pistachios
  • Arugula greens
  • Good-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • 4-6 tablespoons salted butter


  1. Place a layer of arugula greens all over a large serving platter.
  2. Slice peaches and sauté in 2-3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, in a large skillet, until peaches are warmed through and start to release their juices. Keep warm in pan.
  3. Place cooked lobster meat in medium skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of butter and heat over low heat until just warm.
  4. Pour warmed peaches over arugula and scatter lobster meat on top. Lay Serrano ham in thin pieces over peaches and lobster.
  5. Tear burrata into pieces and spread across peaches, ham, and lobster. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top.
  6. Drizzle olive oil generously all over salad and lightly sprinkle with aged balsamic vinegar. Let salad sit for 15-20 minutes. Serve family-style as a light first course or as a lunch with toasted bread. A little sparkling wine with some fresh blueberries is a great drink to accompany.