EVENT REPORT: HANGOUT OYSTER COOKOFF 2015

It is hard to believe that 2015 is winding down- and that "Oyster" has come and gone! We had an amazing weekend in Gulf Shores and if you missed it, you missed a party! This was my fourth year to host the Hangout's Oyster Cookoff... and this was the biggest year yet with more teams. more celebrity chefs, more oysters, and even the first ever North American Oyster Showcase. This year's lineup included Food Network Chefs Anne Burrell, Marc Murphy, Michele Ragussis, Ippy Aiona, and Jason Roberts. We had such a good time!

We arrived into town early for press and that left us a lot of time for fun. From our basecamp at Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, we cooked dinner every night in the expansive and well-stocked kitchens and spent the days on Alabama's beautiful beaches right in front of the condo. My chefs from elsewhere are always shocked at Alabama's beautiful beaches- we had an awesome afternoon stand-up paddleboarding on the Gulf. Actually, I did not stand up too long but it was a ton of fun! That tiny dot in the one photo is Jason. Thank you to Ryan at Perdido Beach Services for delivering our paddleboards to us! 

We threw a "family supper" pot luck on Sunday night in one of the five bedroom penthouse units... Jason made paella, Michele made her famous meatballs with spaghetti, Anne made a jambalaya, and I made homemade apple tarts with bourbon caramel sauce and ice cream. I had some Nashville friends pop in to play: Marc-Alan Barnette and Jimbeau Hinton were a big hit with everyone. Turquoise Place is such a wonderful part of our Oyster Cookoff weekend; although the days are long and the work is tough, when you have such a lovely place to come home to each night... plus the hot tub out on each balcony.... well, you really never want to leave.

We went fishing with our buddy Captain Marty from Salty Dog Fishing Charters who always finds the fish! There was some smack talk and wagering going on-- being the ultimate host, I had to allow my guests the victory, of course.

We had a fun night at karaoke- one of Chef Burrell's favorite things to do. Check out our duet photo below. There is also video of Jason Roberts dancing but I've promised not to post it.

It is the people behind the scenes who get none of the glory and deserve all of it. None of this weekend could happen without my team- they are dedicated professionals and work so hard. I could not do what I do without them. Special thanks to my team leaders Rayme, Nicole, and Stacy and to our entire service staff and volunteers including Fran and Ulrike for making sure everyone was well taken care of all day long.

Rayme has been with me for 3 Hangout Oyster events. The show could NOT go on without her! This shot is my favorite from the weekend. It shows her prepping for the next chef. Head down- focused. Rayme, you are a rock star! People always ask me about my plating- it is another Alabama treasure from my good friend Tena Payne at Earthborn Pottery! Gorgeous, isn't it?

Rayme has been with me for 3 Hangout Oyster events. The show could NOT go on without her! This shot is my favorite from the weekend. It shows her prepping for the next chef. Head down- focused. Rayme, you are a rock star! People always ask me about my plating- it is another Alabama treasure from my good friend Tena Payne at Earthborn Pottery! Gorgeous, isn't it?

Another huge thank you to my Food Network Star season 8 family: Michele Ragussis and Ippy Aiona. This was their 3rd Hangout Oyster Cookoff and they not only pitch in and do a lot of the work, they make it so much fun for me and for the fans. Alabama loves you!

Thanks are not enough for Chef Jim Smith and Chef Jake Reed and to our crew of culinary volunteers! You rocked it! Special thanks to Chefs Paul, Chris, and Veronica and their culinary students from the Culinard program. You all made a huge difference! Thank you!

Martie Duncan Events 360 Hangout Oyster Cookoff

This team rocked the Hangout Oyster Cookoff 2015! Could not have done it without you!

Martie Duncan Hangout Oyster Cookoff

Here are some photos of the Hangout Oyster Cookoff 2015. Make plans to join us next year!