September brings the start of the native oyster season here in Britain, and to mark it, I am excited to announce that I will be mc'ing the 23rd Annual TABASCO® Brand British Oyster Opening Championship on September 2, an event which hosts Britain’s best professional oyster shuckers as they open and do their best to perfectly present 30 native oysters in the shortest time. The fastest shucker, with the best presented tray of oysters, will be crowned champion.
While the fastest time sits at under 3 minutes (that’s less than 6 seconds per oyster!), there are time penalties for grit, shell, or tears in the oyster flesh. Using sharp knives at high speeds carry another danger, too: a shucker’s blood on an oyster adds on a massive 30 second time penalty, so speed alone does not necessarily guarantee a winner.
The trays of oysters will be judged by three respected and well-established names in the seafood and shellfish industries – Chris Leftwich, who is Chief Inspector to the Fishmongers Company in London and is responsible for the quality control of seafood sold at London’s Billingsgate Fish Market, Mike Berthet who has over 30 years experience in Fish and Seafood as a chef and now represents M&J Seafood on sustainability issues, and David Jarrad who is CEO of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain. These judges will decide on a winner to be awarded the trophy, a £250 cash prize, and a spot at Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.
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