Shuck and Swallow

Yes indeedy, that was actually the name of an oyster eating competition I attended this past week.  Fortunately, I wasn’t a contestant, but a judge.  Why fortunately?  Oh, well, you’ll see momentarily.

The Shuck & Swallow Challenge is an annual oyster shucking and eating contest hosted by McCormick and Kuleto’s.  Local restaurants compete in teams of two, shucking and eating as many oysters as possible in 10 minutes.  Winners get a nifty trophy to display at their restaurant for an entire year!  And, following the contest, anyone can pay a nominal fee and get all the oysters and wine they want, with all proceeds benefiting The Marine Mammal Center.  A fun time!

As a judge, all I had to do was count the shells of my restaurant team once the 10 minutes was up.  Ironically enough, I paired up with the guys from Farallon, where I staged during culinary school.  Their current Chef de Cuisine, Ryan Simas, was the shucker, and vaguely remembered me from so many months ago.  Farallon has competed in the competition for several years, always placing second behind the fast-as-lightning shucker from McCormick’s.

But not on my watch.

This was their year, because Farallon won the competition, with Ryan shucking and Aaron eating ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE OYSTERS in 10 minutes.  I know, barf.

At any rate, I didn’t attend the wine and oyster tasting afterward, which for anyone who knows me and my affinity for oysters, is somewhat shocking.  But truthfully, watching all that oyster carnage and the guys shoveling them in as fast as they could wasn’t exactly…appetizing.  And, since Aaron nearly ralphed during the contest (and later said it was because “ugh, there were a few bad ones in there”), I wasn’t exactly in an oyster eating mood, so I headed home to watch the debates.

You can see a whole bunch of pictures from this year’s competition here (thanks to Jim Oswald of The Marine Mammal Center for putting these photos together and to Tom Walton of Fortune PR for sending them my way).  There are some great shots of the winning Farallon boys up on the stage, accepting their trophy!  I’m even in one or two of the photos, although way in the back of them.

So, how many oysters could YOU down in a single sitting?

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