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Our Common Table is John's newest philanthropic endeavor, a nonprofit organization that spreads messages of respect and conservation for the Chesapeake and its bounty.

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Chef John Shields’ call to action to rebuild our local food economy consists of promoting healthy, local, bay and body friendly food that brings us all to a common table. That is why he started his newest project,

Our Common Table, to support and create initiatives and partnerships that engage communities to live, learn, and protect the bounty of the Chesapeake region.


Current Projects

3 parts Chesapeake, 2 parts delicious and 1 part love = Chesapeake Bites.

Join us as we travel around the Bay taking tasty "bites" of all the Chesapeake has to offer. This new online cooking show quickly presents one recipe every Wednesday demonstrating how you can eat well, protect our environment, and rebuild our local food economy one dish at a time.

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Our Common Table Fund

Our Common Table Scholarship Fund is a donor advised fund managed by the Baltimore Community Foundation established to honor John Shields and the 20th anniversary of his founding Gertrude’s restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. 


John, along with friends and colleagues, has formed Our Common Table,  a nonprofit organization to spread his message of respect and conservation for the Chesapeake and its bounty. Believing that a single action, like preparing a simple meal for our friends and family, can make a difference in the community— that collective action can greatly impact our region and the world, Our Common Table offers education and outreach activities  to promote the greater good.


This year, working with Our Common Table, your favorite chef has been coming to you virtually! He’s doing regular programs via zoom with the Harford County Public Library’s Chesapeake Farm & Bay to Table Series, in its second season with a third season starting in May. John and Library CEO Mary Hastler host special guests like MacArthur Fellow, and Smithsonian Visionary Artist, Baltimore-based Joyce C. Scott and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Join John and his friends for virtual excursions to Maryland farms, fisheries, and local businesses. Explore our great State’s robust food industry, embrace creative ways to eat healthier, learn about exciting careers in the food industry, and see how buying local supports your very own community. Each program ends in Chef John’s home kitchen where he and Library CEO, Mary Hastler will cook up a storm using local ingredients. You are in for a treat as cooking with Chef John is always a fun and educational experience.


To watch previous episodes and download recipes, click here.

If you have any questions, want to donate, or get involved feel free to contact Executive Director, Josianne Pennington at

Follow Our Common Table on Social Media

  • Instagram
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