Local Oyster Master Competes in National Contest

On Monday our local seafood master competed against the best shuckers in the country.

Here’s a press release on the subject and a journal entry from his experience…

2nd Annual Oyster Shucking Contest

Monday, February 25 2008, 3:30pm
An event not to be missed! The inaugural year of this event proved to be a huge success filled with excitement and some fierce competition. Come and witness contestants battle to become the 2008 Fastest Shucker of the East. First place prize is $500; second place $300; and third place $100.

Press Release

Each year Andrew Gadaleto the owner of Gadaleto’s Seafood Market attends the International Seafood Show in Boston, Massachusetts. At the trade show Andrew who is committed to conservation in the seafood industry is able to learn about important issues and make contact with quality wholesale seafood providers from all over the United States and the world.

Last year Andrew who supplies Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House and serves as an oyster shucker and oyster sommelier for the restaurant entered and placed seventh in the annual oyster shucking contest. This year Andrew who for the past year has had the practice of opening approximately a thousand oysters a week has high hopes of being one of the top three finishers. In humor Andrew states that he might be able to obtain the distinction of being the fastest “left handed” shucker in the world. On Monday evenings and some weekends you can get to talk with Andrew and learn about the different varieties of oysters. Each week Andrew selects about twenty varieties of oysters from all over the United States and Canada for the oyster bar at Doc Magrogan’s.

Andy’s inside look:

I recently attended a conference held on oysters. Many things I heard I already knew but there were also several things that were important that I learned. Here is what I have come to conclude before I sell oysters to anybody the first time I will make sure they take the right safety precautions. What I’ve come to discover is many people I don’t currently sell to and wouldn’t sell to don’t take the right safety measures and educate the consumer. First of all, all oysters should be properly iced and refrigerated. Let me repeat oysters need ice like fish need water. In my opinion and many people at the conference we concluded we would not serve oysters from Louisiana until Louisiana protects itself. To often Louisianan oyster man and women pull oysters from the warm waters and to quickly drop the temperature thus ruining the flavor and increasing the chances of bacteria growth. My rule is if I can’t track it I can’t buy it. I’m an ethical man who has a passion about the product that I sell. Enough about safety for this week; another thing may slurper’s might not realize is that the speed at which an oyster is grown affects its saltiness and the heavier the tides the quicker the oyster grows.

This week I will talk about another oyster to broaden your horizons because I want you all to be full fledged ostreaphile ( in plain English oyster lovers). The oyster I have chosen is the Stingray oyster the quintessential Chesapeake oyster because of its plumpness, sweetness and faint saltiness. Stringray oysters are grown by Travis and Ryan Croxton two cousins. They grow there oyster at Ware Neck in a bay that opens wide to the Chesapeake and has little fresh water influence. It’s very balanced because it is not too salty not too sweet, just right. Stingrays grow to a standard size of 3-4 inches and only take a year to reach the right size. Travis and Ryan grow their stingrays in off-bottom cages that benefit from the superior water quality and food supply they received.

So keep enjoying your Slurping and I will add more next week.

Congratulations to William “Chopper” Young from Wealthy Oyster Company for winning the 2008 Shucking Championship in Boston in a field that included some big time contenders, David Leck of “Elliots Oyster House”, and Deborah Pratt the 2006 National Women’s Champion, and Mr. Ingles the head shucker from Grand Central Oyster House, and the head shucker from Oceanaire Restaurant and many other great shuckers from across the country.