Thursday, 9 September 2010

The British National Oyster Opening Championships

Wracked with nerves and trepidation I head off with my trusty oyster knives to Piccadilly, London, where Bentley's are hosting the Tabasco British Oyster Opening Championships 2010. The prize up for grabs - prestige, and the chance to represent Gow's and Britain at the world championships in Galway.

On arrival, I decided that a cold glass of Prosecco would calm one's nerves. 6 glasses later I was more than overconfident looking at the other contestants - oyster geeks from all over Britain.

Amongst the 'celebrities' were the likes of Ainsley Harriott, Brian Turner, Tom Parker-Bowles, Richard Corrigan and most impressively, the Hamilton's! Brian Turner being the MC called the first 3 contestants. Up on stage I quickly gave my knives one last polish and prepared to open 30 new season native oysters in the fastest time possible.

                                         Richard Corrigan and mystery blonde.....

The world record is 2 minutes 19 seconds - could I get close?

Now regretting having drunk those 6 glasses of prosecco, the nerves kicked in, Brian Turner gave the off, and away we went. Each contestant having to ring a bell when finished - it's not just about speed, it's about presentation as well. And blow me down, in what seems like seconds, the first bell rang, then the second, and then there was just me.

I carried manfully on, Brian Turner giving me all the encouragement I needed by cajoling the crowd to support 'David from Gow's' in his soothing Northern accent.

I finally shucked and presented my last oyster to the loud applause of the audience. At which I was so relieved I threw my hands up in the air like a cyclist at the top of Alpe d'Huex in the Tour de France, knocking over a large display bottle of Tabasco sauce at the same time, just to draw a bit more attention to oneself.

But one of my food heroes, Tom Parker-Bowles patted me on the back and congratulated me for my Great British spirit.

A great day out, fifth place (possibly), a few more glasses of Prosecco, and looking forward to next year when I'm definitely going to kick some ass.....


The Lionheart

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