Chefs line up for pearl of a challenge

OYSTER OPENING COMPETITION  l/r: Chefs, Dan Gower, Craig Middleton, Marco Caires, Simon Wild, Craig Davis, Jack Baker and Carl Riley pictured before the oyster opening competition at Catch Restaurant, Crosspool.    14 January 2010
OYSTER OPENING COMPETITION l/r: Chefs, Dan Gower, Craig Middleton, Marco Caires, Simon Wild, Craig Davis, Jack Baker and Carl Riley pictured before the oyster opening competition at Catch Restaurant, Crosspool. 14 January 2010
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It was enough to leave onlookers shell-shocked: seven chefs, 70 oysters and a mere four minutes to open the lot…

The stunt, staged at Crosspool seafood café Catch, was a celebration marking the height of the British oyster season.

Taking part were Catch head chef Carl Riley, Relish’s Jack Baker, Dan Gower from Artisan, Marco Caires from the Cricket Inn, Craig Middleton from the Inn at Troway, Craig Davis from Champs and BrewKitchen director and executive chef Simon Wild.

As the race got under way, the shucking was fast and furious.

First to open all ten oysters – and make a black velvet cocktail of Guinness and Champagne – was Jack, who completed the feat in an impressive 3min 30sec.

But clumsy knife-work meant he was penalised for missing pieces of shell and the title went to Simon.

“I told him: form is temporary but class in permanent!” crowed the victor, who was still well short of the record (30 oysters in 3min 18sec).

Meanwhile the ultimate winner was BrewKitchen. A special oyster menu helped them to sell more than 200 of the shellfish over the weekend.