Tuesday saw the 24th annual TABASCO® Brand British Oyster Opening Championship and we were delighted to be invited again. This year the venue moved to Hix in Soho and once again 14 shuckers competed for the coveted trophy together with a cash prize and the all important entry into the World Oyster Opening Championship in Dublin representing GB.
So, down to business. When we arrived the 14 shuckers were limbering up, having a bit of dutch courage and we were treated to the most deliciously spice Bloody Mary’s with salami swizzle sticks, there were also wonderful spiked Margaritas and Gin and Tonic’s with a kick all themed around generous hosts TABASCO® iconic sauces. There were also the most wonderful canapés including Steak Tatare Queen Scallops, Buttermilk Oysters and of course the stars of the show …. Oysters !
MC Brian Turner was on hand to keep us all under control as well as officiate the three rounds, where contestants have to shuck 30 oysters, present them ready for judging to an expert panel who were in another part of the building – all very exciting.
The judging panel featured key figures from the fish and seafood industry including Chris Leftwich, Competition Head Judge and retired Chief Inspector of the Fishmongers Company, David Jarrad, Director of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and Mike Berthet, Fish and Seafood Director of M&J Seafoods and was hosted by renowned chef Brian Turner CBE.
I am in awe of all the shuckers, I think I can just about manage six oysters in 30 minutes and some of the contestants were shucking 30 oysters in way, way under 4 minutes -something I aspire too. We make no apologies, we were there to support our friends at The Bloody Oyster again this year (we folk who have business’ in unique vehicles must stick together ) and Ed did a masterful job, however, not quite enough to beat last years champion Fredrik Lindfors from The Fish Shop, Kensington Place, who romped home with an amazing score of 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
Chris Leftwich, Competition Head Judge and retired Chief Inspector of the Fishmongers Company, said: “The calibre of talent at today’s event was really impressive, it was a really strong field of competitors. Fredrik demonstrated excellent skills and expertise, not only did he achieve the fastest time but also an outstanding presentation of oysters. I’m delighted to collaborate with TABASCO® Brand on this event to champion such talented individuals in the culinary industry.”
Fredrik said: “I had a great time today at the TABASCO® Brand British Oyster Opening Championship. It was a tough competition, with the UK’s top shuckers and chefs all competing, I’m absolutely delighted to win and secure a place at the World Oyster Opening Championships.”
Here are all the shuckers and their times… Heroes one and all …
|1||Fredrik Lindfors||The Fish Shop, Kensington Place||03:10|
|(joint) 3||Katalin Juhasz||Wright Brothers Borough||04:28|
|(joint) 3||Michal Heins||Scott’s||04:28|
|4||Neil Reader||Rossmore Oysters||05:11|
|5||Gjerj Krrashi||Wright Brothers Soho||05:18|
|6||Ed Ford||The Bloody Oyster||05:19|
|8||Paco Escobar||Selfridges Caviar House & Prunier||05:40|
|9||Conor Pearson||Oyster Boy||06:41|
|10||Salvatore Zocco||Wright Brothers Soho||06:59|
|11||Bill Pinney||Pinneys of Orford||07:04|
|13||Theresa Douthwright||The Mother Shuckers||09:57|
We left, fully satiated and buzzing from the afternoons action clutching I must say the most wonderful goody bag from TABASCO® Brand containing a bottle each of their iconic sauces. I haven’t tried the smoky one, something I must remedy immediately.
And finally….. A fun fact about TABASCO®
In the UK, TABASCO® Sauce was first introduced as an accompaniment to oysters over 100 years ago in 1905. To this day, it is still the most favoured pairing with oysters and remains a popular combination on restaurant menus and table tops around the world. This is certainly true at our little brasserie La Petite Bouchée !
Oh in case we haven’t mentioned it… Our Brasserie La Petite Bouchée has been nominated for a #lovelondonawards