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.
Please join us in hosting your own Big Brekkie event to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and show your support for Autism Wessex!
10 February 2015
Big Brekkie charity campaign launched in Dorchester
31 January 2015
With a coast jumping with seafood, great local produce and a new wave of stylish hotels, chefs and foodies are flocking to Dorset. We round up the very best of the county’s restaurants
Seventeen years after Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall established his River Cottage HQ on the Devon-Dorset border, there’s been a slow but subtle change in the way Dorset is perceived by foodies and chefs. “Dorset has gone from being a sleepy county to a place where people and chefs are gravitating,” says James Golding, chef-director of The Pig on The Beach, which opened in Studland last summer to great acclaim.
The next big thing to hit Dorset’s shores will be the Seaside Boarding House, which is scheduled to open in mid-February. The eight rooms will cost £200 B&B; the menu is still under wraps, but “will offer something for everyone, from a picnic hamper for the beach, to a casual lunch to a more formal dinner”. At Burton Bradstock and overlooking Lyme Bay, it has already been dubbed “the Groucho on the Sea” as it’s the latest venture by Mary-Lou Sturridge and her business partner Anthony Mackintosh, who founded the members-only Groucho Club in Soho, London, in 1985.
“When I moved here six years ago, there was nowhere to go for a really good meal,” says Sturridge. “That’s no longer the case. We’re lucky to live in such a wild county with lots of smallholders and are blessed with produce.”
Here’s our pick of the best eating the county has to offer:
The Casterbridge, Dorchester
Mat Follas, the 2009 winner of BBC MasterChef, has experienced a roaring success since he took over the restaurant at this small hotel in the county town of Dorchester a year ago, after moving from The Wild Garlic in Beaminster, which won over the critics. At the Casterbridge, he cooks only on a Friday and Saturday evening and offers a three course-tasting menu for £29.50 or a six-course menu for £47.50. Dishes might include partridge crown confit with smoked aubergine puree and horseradish pesto. The restaurant is small and cosy, with no pretention, tablecloths or large menus. Follas has also helped launch The Jailhouse Cafe The Verne on Portland, which is run by prisoners on day release and is open to the public.
• 01305 264043, thecasterbridge.co.uk
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