- Special Sections
- Public Notices
OCEAN ISLE BEACH—Promptly at noon Sunday, festival-goers stood in judgment as they lined up to sample eight creative concoctions at the annual oyster stew cook-off at the North Carolina Oyster Festival.
Set up beneath a tent were eight competing restaurants and chefs stirring up their respective stews. The competition was hot—and possibly spicy, with a variety of ingredients complementing one shared, central component at the annual festival—delectable oysters.
Three and a half hours later, with all votes in, the Giggling Mackerel Seafood Grille was declared first-place winner for its oyster stew entry.
It’s the same one served at the Ocean Isle Beach eatery, said chef Tracy Landrum as she and manager Jes Stewart greeted stew-samplers at the Giggling Mackerel table.
“It’s cream-based with veggies and special seasonings in it,” Landrum said of the oyster-rich soup offered patrons with a choice of regular or pepper cornbread squares.
For the third year in a row, second place in the oyster stew cook-off went to Chef Sal Rubio of The Grille, which offers grilled-to-order breakfast and gourmet lunches inside the Dodge City BP station on south Main Street in Shallotte.
“We’re doing a champagne and Brie oyster stew with some apple and bacon,” Rubio said, busy ladling cups of his stew to patrons lined up at his stand Sunday.
The third-place winner in this year’s cook-off was The Boundary House, which offered a stew consisting of an “apple blend with bacon, cheese, chipotle, oysters and lots of good spices,” said Crystal Gately, general manager at the Calabash restaurant.
The other five competing restaurants and chefs in this year’s cook-off included Roberto’s Ristorante, Ocean Ridge Plantation, Sarah’s Kitchen, Ocean Twist Deli and Shaun Fenix, a cooking team from Wilmington.