Who even knew they set oyster shucking records? Well, they do, and Patrick McMurray has done it- twice. In 2010, he set the Guinness World Record by shucking 38 oysters in a minute, breaking his own record of 33 which he had set seven years prior.
We caught up with McMurray at Chef Central, a culinary heaven in Paramus, New Jersey, where he was teaching a class on oysters. He’s turned the sport- yes, it’s a sport- of oyster shucking and the renown that comes with being a world champion, into a livelihood. He developed a line of products, wrote book, and owns and operates an Irish pub and restaurant in Toronto called The Ceili Cottage where he serves (what else?) oysters, paired with beer and whiskey along with a full menu of other items.
His journey began in 1992, when he began opening oysters- quickly, and cleanly. In the more than 20 years since then he has become a scholar and historian of the bivalves. During the class, we learned about aquaculture and oyster farming, different types of oysters, where they come from, where they’re going, and how they get to our plates.
We were also given the opportunity to shuck some ourselves. This piece was fun, but McMurray makes it look much easier than it actually is, and we’ll definitely leave it to the professionals. Eating them was much more fun. He also made us a seafood chowder that just might be worth heading up to Toronto for.
We definitely won’t be heading to the fishmonger and picking up some oysters to shuck anytime soon, but it definitely got us in the mood to eat some. Upstate this weekend, anyone?
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