October 11, 2018 at 8:00 am EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: John Shields
John Shields, gay news, Washington Blade

John Shields (Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University Press)

It’s a big month for Baltimore’s Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen (gertrudesbaltimore.com). The restaurant, located in the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore) is celebrating its 20th anniversary and its owner has a new cookbook out.

“The New Chesapeake Kitchen” by John Shields, was released Oct. 7 from the Johns Hopkins University Press and features “the best of what grows, swims or grazes in the Chesapeake Bay’s watershed and prepares it simply and memorably.” The book, his fifth, retails for about $18 (some price variation based on where it’s purchased) and is available at Gertrude’s, in the museum gift shop, on Amazon and more.

Shields (johnshields.com) says he wanted to “envision a Chesapeake kitchen for the 21st century.”

“I’ve been writing about Chesapeake cuisine for nearly 30 years and this book is my culinary last will and testament to the Bay,” the 67-year-old Baltimore native says.

Shields and husband John Gilligan co-own Gertrude’s.

“Yes, we have worked together all these years and are still married,” he says.

Except for stints in Provincetown (1972-1977) and Berkeley/San Francisco (1978-1996), Shields has lived in his native Charm City. He describes Gertrude’s as a “sophisticated yet casual regional American eatery.” There are 55 people on staff and he’s involved in the day-to-day operations. An anniversary party was held Oct. 1. Shields says his specialty is “all things crab and lots of seafood.”

Shields and Gilligan live in North Baltimore’s Tuscany/Canterbury area with their cat, Oscar. Shields enjoys farmers markets and visits to Ireland in his free time.


How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

According to my family, I was out since I was 5 years old so there was no one to tell.


Who’s your LGBT hero?

Gertrude Stein


What’s Baltimore’s best nightspot, past or present?

The Atlantis


Describe your dream wedding.

A big Cajun wedding party in North Berkeley, oh wait — already did that!


What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Local environmental concerns around the Chesapeake.


What historical outcome would you change?

The introduction of Roman-ruled Christianity to Ireland.


What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Herman’s Hermits opening act at the Baltimore Civic Center for The Who in 1967.


On what do you insist?



What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

Eat catfish!!!


If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“The Beyonder Chronicles” (coming to a bookstore near you soon)

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

Order Chipotle and watch some Nextflix

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

The Tao


What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Be bold, be queer, do not be complacent.


What would you walk across hot coals for?

Tuna fish on saltine crackers.


What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That we all know how to arrange flowers.


What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Parting Glances”


What’s the most overrated social custom?

Telling people, “God Bless You,” after they have sneezed.


What trophy or prize do you most covet?

The Man Booker Prize


What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That it’s all just really, really transitional, so have fun!


Why Baltimore?

As John Waters says, “It’s the Hairdo Capitol of the World.” Why live anywhere else?

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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