Oyster Championships 2019
Oyster Championships 2019
November 6 2019
FOUNDED BY BOISDALE & WRIGHT BROTHERS - A BLIND TASTING TO IDENTIFY THE FINEST OYSTERS IN THE UK & FRANCE
On Wednesday 6 November 2019 after a day of judging and almost 1,000 oysters shucked, the results are in from the fourth Boisdale & Wright Brothers Oyster Championship 2019, a blind tasting to identify the finest oysters in the UK & France.
The event held at Boisdale of Bishopsgate in association with The City of London Distillery saw two varieties of oyster tasted from two countries and eight producers, represented in front of 60 academic judges including notable chefs, food critics and restaurateurs.
After a rigorous and nail-biting blind tasting, overseen by food writer Bill Knott alongside Ben Wright and Robin Hancock of Wright Brothers, the judging panel awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze in Rock and Gold in Native categories. The judges marked the oysters on appearance i.e. meat-to-shell ratio, flavour & minerality.
The winners were as follows:
Native Gold Medal: Belon – Cadoret Brittany – supplied by Les Huitres Cadoret
Rock Gold Medal:Gillardeau Ile d’Oléron – supplied by Maison Gillardeau
Rock Silver Medal: Speciales – Cadoret Riec-sur-Belon – supplied by Les Huitres Cadoret
Rock Bronze Medal: Morecambe Bay Lancashire – supplied by Loch Fyne Oyster
The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to a third generation Jersey oyster farmer Chris Le Masurier whilst chef, restaurateur and journalist Rowley Leigh was crowned Oyster Champion 2019.
Boisdale founder and owner Ranald Macdonald says, “It was an extraordinary event with the mission to elevate the profile of the humble oyster. Most of the legendary London fish restaurants, including Boisdale of Bishopsgate (formerly Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill 1969 – 2001) — were invariably oyster bars to start with, where one could enjoy delicious molluscs cheaply and with abandon. Oysters provide the human body with a number of unique nutrients and minerals and are one of the most sustainable things to eat, certainly the most sustainable to come from the sea. By hosting this Championship annually, we are hoping to change the perception of oysters as a luxury item for the few and get everyone eating oysters again.”
Wright Brothers co-owner Ben Wright says, “Once again, it has been a pleasure to bring together some of the UK and France’s finest oysters as well as many of London’s finest chefs and ostreaphiles.
The quality of the oysters this year bears testament to the renaissance in both oyster farming and consumption which has taken place over the last five years, with growers taking a quality and craft-driven approach more akin to winemaking, whilst chefs and consumers are increasingly interested in variety, quality, different tastes and flavours as well as more creative ways to enjoy this wonderful seafood. In December 2002, Wright Brothers Wholesale sold a few hundred oysters to 20 customers. This Christmas, we will sell half a million oysters to several hundred customers.
With increasing public interest in sustainability and clean oceans, and initiatives across the globe to restore oyster reefs in order to regenerate the great estuaries and waterways of the world, the future looks bright for these miracle molluscs. Unlike any other food I can think of, the more we produce and eat, the better the environment. Today was a fitting celebration.”
The Judging Panel’s Chefs:
Alfred Prasad • Tamarind
Andre Garrett •Corinthia
Andrew Turner • Alfred Dunhill Private Members Club
Bridget Hugo •Strozzapreti
Francesco Mazzei • Sartoria
Jacob Kenedy • Bocca di Lupo
James Knappett • Kitchen Table
Jemima Jones • Wild By Tart
Jesse Dunford • Wood Parlour
Joe Wadsack • BBC Food and Drink expert
Lucy Carr-Ellison • Wild By Tart
Nick Gibson • Drapers Arms
Oisin Rogers • The Guinea Grill
Pascal Aussignac • Club Gascon
Peter Fiori • Coutts
Rowley Leigh • Sam’s Riverside Restaurant
Russell Norman • Polpo
Valentine Warner • TV Chef
Vivek Singh • Cinnamon Kitchen
Will Guess • Rowley’s
Zeren Wilson • Bitten and Written
Jersey Channel Islands – supplied by Jersey Oyster
Carlingford Ireland – supplied by Carlingford Oyster Company
Morecambe Bay Lancashire – supplied by Loch Fyne Oyster
Native:Fal Native Cornwall – supplied by Cornish Shellfish Company
Prestige Marennes d’Oléron – supplied by Miet Georgeon
Speciales – Cadoret Riec-sur-Belon – supplied by Les Huitres Cadoret
Gillardeau Ile d’Oléron – supplied by Maison Gillardeau
Belon – Cadoret Brittany – supplied by Les Huitres Cadoret