John Shields (chef)

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John Shields
John shields 5213000.jpg
Born1951 May 5

John Shields is an American chef, food writer, and host of the PBS television shows Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields and Coastal Cooking with John Shields.[1]


He is a native of Baltimore, Maryland.

John’s professional career began by accident. After studying at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, he moved to Provincetown / Cape Cod with aspirations of becoming a rock star, and played piano in local bars. One day an injured friend asked John to work his shift in the kitchen of a popular Cape Cod inn. Little did John know that his first day, spent making 36 pie shells, would evolve into many years as a restaurant chef & owner, author, and host of two national public television series.[2] In the 1980s, John moved to Northern California, where he joined the New American Food revolution. He was executive chef at A La Carte, a highly regarded French restaurant in Berkeley. Shields opened his first restaurant Gertie’s Chesapeake Bay Café in 1983[3] in the heart of the storied Gourmet Ghetto. In the late 1990's he returned to Baltimore, and opened Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Lauded by Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, the Washington Post, Edible DC, The Baltimore Sun, and a multi-year winner of Baltimore Magazine’s “Best of Baltimore,” Gertrude’s serves locally sourced farm-fresh food that preserves Chesapeake culinary traditions.

Shields is an expert in regional American coastal cuisine, and in particular the cuisine of his native Chesapeake Bay region.[4] He is a proponent of slow food and local food, and is active in related organizations such as the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Alliance, Slow Food, and the Chef's Collaborative.

Shields is openly gay and works with his husband, John Gilligan, at Gertrude's.[5]



  • The Chesapeake Bay Cookbook (Addison-Wesley, 1990)
  • The Chesapeake Bay Crab Cookbook (Addison-Wesley, 1992)
  • Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields (Broadway Books, 1998)
  • Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields, 25th anniversary edition (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015)
  • The New Chesapeake Kitchen (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018)


  1. ^ "Coastal Cooking with John Shields | Cooking Shows | PBS Food". PBS Food. 2011-10-17. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  2. ^ "Who is this guy?". John Shields. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  3. ^ "Redefining Chesapeake". Edible DC. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  4. ^ Rodricks, Dan. "The care and handling of crab cakes". Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  5. ^ Sun, Baltimore. "The stories behind some of Baltimore's most notable couples". Retrieved 2018-07-10.

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