Registration open by phone only. Contact Melissa Shaw, Abalone Cook-off Coordinator at (707) 791-9977 or email to see if there is any available space and to register. There is no registration fee!


Don't let the rules intimidate you. Cooks have been competing for years.

DIVING SAFETY: You are more important than any competition.  MAPA urges all divers to STAY SAFE! Follow smart diving practices. Do not dive in unsafe conditions or rough waters. 

Contact Melissa Shaw, Abalone Cook-off Coordinator at (707) 791-9977 or email




ABALONE CHECK-IN ARRANGEMENTS: (Your registration booth # at check-in will not be the same as the booth #  provided for the competition). 

You will be provided with the new booth #, hole punch and 2 free aprons by a MAPA representative prior to 11am on the day of the event.


Table rentals (six foot length) are available for registered cooks for $10. Please reserve your table and pay with the PayPal button.




Make sure all shell-tagged abalone have been checked in by the abalone committee before you begin preparation of your recipe. MAXIMUM OF 12 ABALONE PER BOOTH (2017), and only one recipe per booth.  If you want to prepare two recipes, you will need to register two booths.


You may purchase FARM-RAISED ABALONE.  The count is 80 to 160 abalone at 3" to 5" in size.  80 abalone will do approximately 240 small servings.  160 abalone is approximately equal in weight to 12 7" or above wild abalone. In 2017due to the condition of the Abalone fishery, MAPA also gave cooks the option to receive farm-raised abalone instead of the $200 stipend we have been providing. Cooks will not receive the $200 stipend if we are providing them with farm-raised abalone. This condition has not been determined for the year 2018. Please call or email Melissa Shaw to discuss this option.

To purchase your own FARM-RAISED ABALONE contact Brad Buckley at The Abalone Farm—(805) 441-2024.  Be sure to mention the MAPA World Champion Abalone Cook-off.




You may check in your tagged abalone to one of the committee members on the Friday before at Noyo Harbor.  You must have one person for every three wild-caught abalone you are checking in.  The abalone, whether farm-raised or wild-caught, cannot leave the grounds once they are checked in.  When you leave, bring your own ice chest, with the abalone iced down, to the storage shed, with your name on it, and taped shut to leave it for overnight storage with MAPA in the storage garage where you checked the abs in. 


You may check in and/or receive your farm-raised abalone on Friday. The number of abalone will be counted and you must show your invoice to prove they are farm-raised abalone. If you opt to receive farm-raised abalone from MAPA you MUST keep your receipt with you at all times. The abalone, whether farm-raised or wild-caught, cannot leave the grounds once they are checked in.  When you leave, bring your own ice chest, with the abalone iced down, to the storage shed, with your name on it, to be checked and taped shut to leave it for overnight storage with MAPA in the storage garage where you checked the abs in.


Alcohol as a garnish to your recipe is prohibited.  Cooks who serve alcohol will be disqualified.

preparing the abalone in advance

Cooks may clean and prepare wild caught Abalone starting at 9:00 am on the Friday before, however there are strict rules and guidelines that the Department of Fish and Wildlife must enforce for early preparation of Abalone. The Rules clearly state that Abalone which has been removed from its shell must be prepared for immediate consumption. That being said, Abalone prepared a day before the event must be going through a marinating or seasoning process.  All cook teams who clean and begin preparing Abalone the day prior to the event must submit their recipes to MAPA in advance at  

Cooks are responsible for following DFW rules when cooking.  Contact Melissa Shaw at (707) 791-9977 or email for questions on early start approval.  

Once in a marinating or seasoning mode Abalone can be stored overnight by MAPA in your sealed and labeled ice chest. The MAPA storage shed will open promptly at 5:00 AM on the Saturday of the event. We suggest that all Abalone be checked in on Friday, in the interest of preparation time. 
There are no limits on preparing ingredients on Friday prior to the event that are not Abalone (crackers, spices, etc.). There are no cook start time restrictions on farmed raised abalone once they have been checked in.


Your canopy and cook site may be set up on Friday. 

ABALONE CLEANING: MAPA will provide abalone cleaning stations. Please dispose of all remains appropriately.

HEALTH RULES: You must follow the California State Rules for food handling.

FISH & GAME REGULATIONS: You must follow all Deparment of Fish & Wildlife regulations pertaining to legal take, possession, cleaning and preparation of abalone.



Cooks who do not register their abalone on Friday, may do so on Saturday beginning at 7 am.

SATURDAY CLEANING AND PREPARATION: Cleaning stations will be available for cleaning your abalone.  Be sure to put the guts in designated containers. 

HINTS AND TIPS: Start cleaning and preparing no later than 8 am.

QUANTITY: 8 abalone 8" or larger will make 300 3"x3" steaks.

  • We suggest you have at least four people per cook team which consist of a cook, a serving plate organizer, a server, and a judge ticket hole puncher. (MAPA will provide each team with a hole punch).
  • Register abalone on Friday
  • Pre-cut non abalone ingredients a day early
  • Bring a large trash can, bowls, knives, extra cutting boards, mallets, cooking utensils, pans, paper towels, tin foil, stove, fuel, butter, oil, paper plates for ingredients, serving plates, plastic forks, floor matt, tables, decorations, AND, your own ice chest to store your abs overnight if you check in on Friday.

NAME OF RECIPE: Cooks must provide MAPA with the name of your recipe in advance by contacting Melissa Shaw, Abalone Cook-off Coordinator at (707) 791-9977 or email We don't need the recipe, just the name.





COOK SITE SIZE: 10' x 15'

CANOPY & TARP: You should have a canopy with drop-down sides and a tarp covering the ground to meet health code. 10' x 10' canopy should be sufficient. We hope for the best weather for this event, but there's always the possibility of wind or rain, so you may want to bring plenty of secure tie-downs, just in case.

VEHICLES: NO vehicles allowed in your site.


SERVING UTENSILS: You need to provide your own serving utensils. If you are serving soup or chowder, please provide your own tasting cups. Cooks need to provide the judges (public) with plates, forks, spoons and napkins.

TABLES: You'll need a minimum of one table to lay out your food and equipment; two tables would be better. You will be cooking, and serving, so plan for your needs.  You may rent them from MAPA for $10 each.

ELECTRICITY: Electricity is available at the cleaning station site. We also have a limited number of electrical outlets at the cook booths. First come, first serve at the time of registration.

WATER: Potable water is available at the cleaning stations.

# OF HELPERS: One person is needed in your booth for every three abalone, but you may have as many helpers as you want.

ANIMALS: NO animals are allowed in your cook site as required by the health code.



# OF SAMPLES:  Cooks are required to prepare at least 216 appetizer size samples. In the first round, 200 servings are for the People's Choice Judges and 3 are for the World Championship Judges (3 World Championship Judges are assigned to each of the 3 color groups). If you advance to the final round of six cooks (two cooks advance from each color group), you will be required to cook one serving for each of the 9 World Championship Cooks. In addition, four samples will be prepared for volunteers of the event.

# OF ABALONE:  6 to 8 abalone are sufficient for most cooks. 12 wild caught or 160 farm raised Abalone per booth are the maximum allowed. If you run out of Abalone during the preliminary round you will not be allowed to compete in the finals.

JUDGING: World Championship Judging start and end times will be determined by the coordinator and each booth will be made aware prior to the event.



Cooks and judges will be divided into 3 color-coded sections.  There will be new colors each year. 

First, second and third place winners will be named in each color section.

Each People's Choice Judge must present a punch card to receive a sample. Most cooks have a helper to punch the cards for them. People who don't have punch card can't vote, so you are not helping yourself if you give away tastes.

Punch cards must be the same color as the color assigned to your booth, and the card must have your same assigned cook number on it that you will punch to verify that they have tasted at your booth. Other colors cannot vote for you.



*Subject to revision

People's Choice Judges vote one time for their favorite cook team.  They are encouraged to consider tenderness, overall taste, Abalone taste, and presentation.  MAPA counts the number of votes to determine first through third place in each color group.  The first place winner advances to the final round for the world championship.  In addition to a cook team advancing to finals as determined by the winner of the People's Choice vote, a second cook team from each color will be advanced as determined by the World Championship Judges (3 are assigned to each color). 

In the event that the World Championship Judge's choice ties with the People's Choice, the cook team who wins the second place People's Choice overall vote will advance. 

In the final round six cooks will prepare their recipes for all 9 World Championship Judges.   



World Championship Judges will be seated and away from main event
Round One- World Championship Judges

  •  9-10 am- Cook Teams draw for World Championship Judge presentation time slot
  • MAPA will provide containers for each Cook Team to use for presentation to World Championship Judges.

All Judging begins at 11:30 am- Teams can swap their World Championship judging time slots if they let the Judging coordinator know. Teams that are not ready at the agreed upon time may forfeit their chance to win. World Championship Judges taste their Color Group in 10-minute intervals

  • A MAPA volunteer will pick up each Cook Team’s container at their designated time. The volunteer will present to the World Judges.
  • Round One World Judging ends 1:10 pm

Round One- People’s Choice

  • Ballots may be submitted 11:30-2:30 to count towards People’s Choice awards
  • At 2:30 pm, MAPA determines first place in each Color Group

Round Two- World Judges

  • 2:30 pm, World Championship Judges back at judging booth
  •  Six Cook Team finalists will be provided with 3 containers for 9 tastes.
  •  By 2:45, MAPA volunteers will pick up the Finalists tastes and present to the World Judges. The Cook Teams may provide tasting notes if they like.
  • All World Championship Judges taste all 6 finalists, scoring determines Grand Champion

Scoring Criteria and Protocol

  • Overall Recipe 20 points
  • Abalone Taste and Texture 20 points
  • Presentation 10 points

11:30- 2:30 Round One
World Championship Judges are divided into three Color Groups consisting of 1 abalone cook, 1 media and 1 professional chef. Each of these judging teams collaborate to choose their preliminary Round One color group winner. These three Cook Teams, one from each color group, progress to the finals. Festival attendees also advance their choice (People’s Choice) in each Color Group to the finals. Should the People’s Choice vote and the World Championship Judge’s vote be the same Cook Team, the People’s
Choice second place Cook Team will advance to the World Championship finals. Six finalists total.
2:45 Finals- Round Two
The World Championship Judges taste all six finalists and individually score each Cook Team based on the criteria above. The scores of all nine World Judges are added together. The Team with the most points wins.


PRIZES (2017)

World Champion : Trophy and $2,000

PRELIMINARY ROUND/3 COLOR Groups, 8 to 12 teams per group, prizes are per color group.

First place each color group receives $1,000. First through Third place each color group receives a certificate.

All participants receive prizes from SubSurface Progression  dive shop.


Best Decorated Booth $150