Yellowtail copyKEY LARGO, Florida Keys Chefs with a wide variety of experiences are testing their best recipes in preparation for the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce’s 29th annual Key Largo Cook-Off. The cuisine competition is set for Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Holiday Inn, mile marker (MM) 100 in Key Largo.

Amateurs, professionals and junior chefs compete in five culinary categories including soups and chowders, sides and salads, appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Divisions include professional haute cuisine, just good cookin’, “family” recipes from down home, amateur and junior (younger than 16). New this year is a sustainable seafood category, though seafood often accounts for one-third of the annual entries as chefs test their mettle preparing finfish and in-season shellfish.

Sustainable seafood is identified as abundant fish and seafood harvested from surrounding waters. Favorites include sweet Key West pink shrimp, clawless “spiny” lobster, snapper (yellowtail, hog and mutton varieties), grouper and mahi-mahi (dolphin). Stone crabs, a “renewable resource,” are renowned for the sweet, succulent meat in their claws. Keys fishermen harvest only the claws and return the crabs to the sea, where the claws regenerate in two years.

The juried cooking show is free to competitors, who in past years have racked up more than 130 entries. The event is set for 6-8:30 p.m., and public sampling starts at about 7 p.m. Awards are to be announced afterward.

Sampling tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $15 per person. They can be purchased at the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, MM 106, and other local venues.

For more details and entry forms, call 305-451-1481.

For Key Largo area accommodations, contact the chamber at 800-822-1088, e-mail or visit the official website of the Florida Keys & Key West at


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