How to Shuck an Oyster with Chef Steve Vardy



Ever watch the pros at the oyster bar shuck an oyster? How do they make it look so easy? Well, our pro, Chef Steve Vardy, who’s charmed many high profilers such as The Rolling Stones, Wayne Gretezky & Kate Blanchett, shows us how to keep our fingers safe with the proper shucking technique; the precision placement and leverage of your oyster knife.

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How to Shuck an Oyster with Chef Steve Vardy

Ever watch the pros at the oyster bar shuck an oyster? How do they make it look so easy? Well, our pro, Chef Steve Vardy, who’s charmed many high profilers such as The Rolling Stones, Wayne Gretezky & Kate Blanchett, shows us how to keep our fingers safe with the proper shucking technique; the precision placement and leverage of your oyster knife.
 
THINGS YOU WILL NEED

  • Fresh oysters
  • Lots of ice
  • A small brush
  • An oyster knife
  • A cutting board
  • A kitchen towel
  • A wide shallow bowl or platter
  •  

    STEPS

  • 1. Buy oysters the same day you plan on eating them. Store them in ice, and just before you plan to shuck them, place them in the freezer for a few minutes–they’ll be easier to open.
  • 2. Rinse the oysters under cold running water and scrub them with a brush.
  • 3. With a towel, hold the oyster on the cutting board with the flatter side up. Make sure part of the towel covers your hand.
  • 4. Locate the sweet spot near the muscle, which holds the shell together.
  • 5. Find a break in the oyster’s seal as close to your sweet spot as possible. Wedge in the blade of the knife–you’ll only need to get the edge in–and twist your wrist, popping the top shell free.
  • 6. Discard the top shell (or save it for sea sculpture).
  • 7. Run the knife beneath the flesh of the oyster to free it from the bottom shell. Be careful not to lose the juice!
  • 8. Don’t forget to smell your oyster! If it doesn’t smell right, discard immediately.
  • 9. Place the oyster on a platter (of crushed ice if preferred). Shuck the remaining oysters and serve with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, or whatever other condiment you see fit.

     

    CHEF STEVE VARDY BIO:
    Just in his early 30’s, award winning Chef Stephen Vardy already holds over 15 years of experience. Raised in Newfoundland and proud of his heritage Stephen moved to Ottawa in 1992 and began to build his career. Entering the kitchen at the bottom of the brigade in 1994 Stephen quickly bulldozed up through the ranks to be the most talked about chef in Ottawa, Canada.

    After training with revered chefs like Michael Smith, Robert Bourassa, John Taylor and many of New York’s finest he went on to open critically acclaimed Beckta Dinning and Wine with Stephen Beckta. It won him four consecutive CAA/AAA 4 diamond awards, two stars in Where to Eat in Canada (during his stay) and fourth best new restaurant in Canada by En Route Magazine. He was only 24 years old.

    Stephen has since gone on to achieve Ottawa’s first Epicurean Chef of the year award 2006, 07, 3rd place in Canada’s Gold medal Plates, appear in Time Magazine along with dozens of other publications and establish other culinary land marks in Ottawa such as The Black Cat Bistro and Whalesbone Oyster House.

    He has charmed stars and executives alike and continues to instigate the dining scene in Canada. To name A few; The Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, Liam Neesson, Kate Blanchett, Wayne Gretzky, Joni Mitchell, Diana Krall, Tori Spelling, Casper Weinberger, Rick Mercer, Allan Hawco, Shaun Majumder, Shelby Fenner, Prime Ministers, Premiers and Politicians have all passed through his kitchen doors.

    Stephen has quickly won the hearts and stomachs of diners and critics, offering charm and passion with guests in addition to his diverse culinary arsenal. His cuisine is intensely personal and showcases the skilled technique and great respect for the traditional roots it spawns from.

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    • Todd Perrin’s Newfoundland Mussels Recipe

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