Jerry Fraser of Print Hall in Perth, Australia shucks 5,000 oysters a week. He does it with such finesse, with such ease, he can carry on a meaningful conversation and have a dozen oysters shucked by the time you move on to the next topic. He’s an oyster-shucking master who’s so completely passionate about what he does, people from all over Australia come to Perth just to see him in action. I feel incredibly privileged that I had the opportunity to learn from the master directly; what follows are some pictures and more video of Jerry giving his oyster-shucking master course. Turns out you just need one tool and the rest is skill.
Let me tell you about Cory Gale. When Eat Drink Blog (the Australian food blog conference) decided they wanted me to be their featured speaker this year in Perth they partnered up with Cory Gale of Experience Perth to help plan my trip. All of these adventures I’ve been sharing with you so far have been dreamed up by Cory and what’s made them all so lovely–even the ones I was dreading (helicopter, speed boat)–has been Cory’s genuine enthusiasm for his city. He loves Perth and, even more, he loves sharing his love for Perth with other people. Here he is at breakfast sharing his enthusiasm for a mushroom omelet with truffles.
For as long as I’ve been visiting Craig’s family in Bellingham, Washington, I’ve been hearing about the Oyster Bar. It’s where Craig went for his prom night dinner. It’s where Craig’s parents celebrated their most recent anniversary. It’s beautifully situated on Chuckanut Drive, the scenic route you take when getting off the I-5 from Seattle.
On this most recent trip, we decided to go there with our friends Mark and Diana. After the Fair, we changed into our fancy clothes, hopped into a car and parked precariously on a ledge. I’m pretty sure Diana thought I’d fall to my death off a cliff when I opened my car door. Maybe that was the plan all along!
See the way the light is hitting the white wine in my glass?
That’s a summer moment, a California moment; it’s a moment that transcends anything critical I might say about the restaurant where this moment took place. Not that I have anything critical to say. Blue Plate Oysterette is situated on Ocean Blvd. in Santa Monica and if you took this same restaurant and relocated it to a shopping mall in Minnesota, you would think it had no reason to exist. And you would be right. But sitting there in Santa Monica, as it is, facing the Pacific ocean, the sun hitting it on its way down in the sky, it’s a perfect summer seafood restaurant.
When the BP oil spill happened, newscasters and journalists alike spoke of the devastating effect this would have on the Louisiana seafood industry. For most of us, that industry was just an abstraction. We imagined men and women in boats or on docks, but we didn’t have any specific images in our heads (except the ones that we saw on TV). Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to join a trip arranged by the Louisiana Seafood Board to meet the men and women who were most affected by what happened in the Gulf. This is the story of what I encountered.