It’s been quite a while since my own days serving pizza in an Italian Restaurant in Staten Island, or working front of house at a chain Mexican venue in the mall. When I was suddenly thrust back into the kitchen experience at Ocean Prime to meet with Executive Chef Eugenio Reyes and to learn how to shuck the perfect oyster. To my surprise, I found myself somewhat frightened and exhilarated all at once.
Walking through the heat of a busy kitchen just about to hit their rush period is a feeling like no other. In the back corner was Chef Reyes, one of the kindest executive chefs I’ve ever met, not to mention cool under pressure. He whipped out a bucket of East and West Coast oysters that come from their purveyor Samuels Seafood. “Every day we offer one East Coast oyster and one West Coast,” explained Reyes.
Once our basic pleasantries were exchanged, we got right down to it. He washed the oyster, placed it delicately on the table, and took out the shucking knife, before covering his hands with gloves for protection. He gently nudged the shell open in what felt like one maneuver (perhaps two) and then expertly cut along the vein of the oyster to allow for easy consumption. He prepared the ice platter, the seaweed decoration and placed the oysters on the outside rim of the platter. Read on