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Oyster Guy

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  1. It is good to see that the judges (even if they are a whole year late) give Melissa Craig her well deserved kudos. Having won the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships in 2008, one wonders what took them so long to realize this young woman's talents. Congrats to my former employers on their long deserved and way overdue award. Nice to see the editors actually paying attention to what is going on in the culinary world rather than appearing to reward the establishment spending the most advertising dollar as in past years. Congrats again to Melissa and Andre as they so totally deserve this recognition! Kudos to the editors for finally realizing that there is a lot of talent out there that has been overlooked for years. Keep up the good work.
  2. I am in no ways saying that the oyster industry is not strong and well and doing a great job with the oyster in Nova Scotia. (My kids live in Cape Breton and spent every summer playing in the ocean at Neil's Harbor near Aspy Bay) All I was trying to do was to reduce the traveling time as you know that the distance between Yarmouth and Aspy Bay is a considerable amount and not an easy drive for those on a tight timetable. I serve both those oysters on my oyster bar here in Whistler as well.
  3. There are quite a few places to sample oysters at their source in the East. Nova Scotia isn't the best one and you can get lobster anywhere down there. I would suggest that you travel through New Brunswick and PEI instead. You can get great oysters out of the Chaleur Bay region of New Brunswick (Just below Gaspe) You can get Caraquettes, Beausoliels and La St. Simons just out of the one bay and they are fantastic at the time of year you will be going. You are best to search out the companies websites and arrange a tour through them. Most if not all oystermen are very happy to give you a tour of their operation. In PEI, you will find tons of places to have oysters at their source. Raspberry Point, Pickle Point and Colville Bay oysters are some of the best in the world and you should try them fresh out of the ocean. The best fish and chips on PEI is Rick's Fish and Chips in St Peter's Bay near Souris (Home of the Colville Bay oyster) Try Dayboat in Oyster Bed Bridge for their lobster sandwich. Check out my thread here called An Oyster Shucker's Tour for more info. Have a great trip and Keep on shucking Oyster Guy
  4. I think that people should have another go at this subject with the way the economy is going these days. Still waiting for that big lottery 2 week payoff? I just want to see if all those "let's cash in on it" people still think the same way now. Or if they can afford to at this point. Myself, I am headed to a low to medium range (20 to 30 bucks a head check average) busy establishment in the East before the circus pulls in. I really want to see what the dining scene looks like in 2011 here. That will tell the whole story, me thinks
  5. Sit at the oyster bar and say hi to Oyster Bob for me........... Glad I could help.
  6. I might suggest a Blue Mountain Rose' 2004 or even Sumac Ridge Stellar Jay Brut and the only place I think that you could find them with oysters in Van is the Blue Water Cafe or possibly Joe Forte's. Don't even consider Rodney's.
  7. [Host's Note: The following two responses have been split from the Chicago Foie Gras Ban topic.] Glad to see the politicians finally got rid of this stupid bylaw. Ducks and geese aren't fed like that anymore. They have bred ducks and geese for this purpose and all they want to do is eat. There is no cruelty to animals involved here and merely another case of animal rights activists getting out of control, again. I'm sure the city council has more pressing issues than what people are shovelling into their mouths anyways. Stick to politics and I'll stick to cooking and hopefully, the twain shall never meet again.......
  8. Nope. No need to. The fact that they were carrying it means that people are willing to buy it. The question needs to be directed at those customers buying it. It's the same everywhere though. Last summer (non-apple season mind you) I was holidaying in the Okanagan and saw apples from either Chile or New Zealand in a local mini market. I agree with Matt. Unless people buy local and in season we will continue to import food from ludicrous places. But price is the most important factor. I've just returned to Vancouver after 20 years from London (UK). Vancouver has higher than London food prices, higher than London house prices, but no where near London wages. Cheese costs twice what it does in London. Taxes are higher, utilities are higher. Yet real wages have decreased over the last 20 years. Go figure! I've never sen such a false economy as I do in Vancouver (and I'm an economist). The economy is based entirely on a immigration (both intranational and international) of monied individuals, a 2010 construction boom (that must end) and the exploitation of non-renewable resources at record high commodity prices. Scratch below that and there's not much. Real estate doesn't lead the economy, it follows it. The lumber industry is in self-inflicted terminal decline. Fisheries - well that's how this thread started. Wow, I've almost convinced myself to return back to London. ← I agree with you on this totally. It personally breaks my heart to see places serving Kumamoto oysters when there are so many struggling BC oyster growers trying to sell their product locally. The main reason their oysters aren't being bought here is the fact that Vancouverites don't want to pay the price they are asking so they sell 90% of their production East of the Rockies. I know what you mean about the economy, especially being here in Whistler. Everyone here is banking on the Olympics to make them rich. Yeah, right. But we digress from the original topic which is the salmon fishery and what can we do about stopping it's further decline.
  9. I can't accept that. ← For once, I find myself in total agreement with Andrew. (I'm as surprised as the rest of you) We have yet to delve into the politics of food. You make political decisions with what coffee you choose to have in the morning. Is it a fair trade coffee? You don't eat at Rotten Ronnie's because you disagree with them cutting the rainforest down to provide more grazing land for beef. Food is so much more political than you know. While restaurants don't elect politicians, we do happen to feed a hell of a lot of them. You might think it rude to bring this subject up while your local member of Parliment is scarving down a dozen oysters but we (the taxpayers) are their bosses. They manged to get foie gras banned due to people exerting political pressure. Why not finally correct the problem now before there isn't anything left to save? By the way, just because you see Russian salmon in a store doesn't mean a whole lot. Could it be that it was cheaper for them to buy in bulk than pay what our fishermen are charging? Did you ask why they were carrying it?
  10. Albion isn't known for it's oyster knowledge but they are starting to smarten up......slowly... They are only called WC Malpeques by Albion and by no-one else. I have corrected them on this before but hate repeating myself. The European Flats are grown in Desolation Sound just off Thynne Island. The farm was bought by Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish 2 years ago and now they are shipping 98% of their product south of the border to Seattle. Albion doesn't carry them as Bill raised the price by 2.00 a dozen. Once again, they are Totten Virginicas and have never been called "Malpeques."
  11. The Pacific Oysters you know as "native" West Coast are introduced themselves. They are known as Crassostrea gigas, the Japanese or Pacific oyster and they are native to Hokkaido, Japan. They were introduced in BC in 1905 in Pendrell Sound and Ladysmith Harbour. The only native species out here in the Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) and it is on the watched species list here in Canada. There are 5 species of oysters growing here on the West Coast and there have never been any problems with the introduction of any new species. They do compete with the native oyster for habitat and food supply but as all of these new species are cultivated, there really isn't a major problem as you have with salmon farming. Oysters improve the enviroment they are grown in by filtering the water through their gills and by providing food and shelter for other marine life. Taylor Shellfish which grows the Totten Virginica is a very responsible oyster grower and always goes to great pains to keep their operation very environmentally friendly and they have never marketed that oyster as anything but an Eastern seed oyster grown in Totten Inlet. They are East Coast in texture and appearance but they are totally West Coast in taste. They just let them grow too big. It's like eating a cow's tongue.
  12. Certainly many famous chefs (Keller included) have a history of violence and profanity in the kitchen. But over the last decade or two we have seen chefs elevated from "misfits hiding in the kitchen" to being very visible public figures. This appears from the outside (where I am) to be influencing the culture inside the kitchen, but I have no personal experiences to back that up. Hence this topic, where I am hoping to hear from chefs/line cooks/dishwashers who have been in the business for a while. It sounds like there is probably no correlation between cursing in the kitchen and the number of Michelin stars. Nevertheless, I wonder if there has been an across-the-board decrease over the last decade as the public image of the chef changes, and places like the CIA put more emphasis on (their idea of) "professionalism," including a reduction in profanity. ← Interesting topic........... I have been in the business for over 20 years and I have not noticed any reduction in profanities at all in the kitchen. And yes, I work in a fine dining establishment with an open kitchen. Chefs, by their very nature, are passionate people and are prone to, shall we say, emotional outbursts, from time to time. And really, if you cut yourself or burnt yourself during a busy service, do you really think saying, "Oh Gee, I cut myself" is really going to suffice? I have yet to work with a chef that doesn't swear, even the female ones. I fail to see how this affects the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen and while it's nice that a school like the CIA wants to reduce the swearing, it is like herding cats. Pointless. Schools don't have the pressure and stress of cooking on line and can cut down on it. However, a "real" kitchen doesn't really care as long as the guests aren't hearing you and the food keeps coming. I mean, really, who gives a f--- anyways.........
  13. Let me venture a guess......... You're from Vancouver........ 3 dollars an oyster is pretty much the standard price. In Toronto, you would be paying anywhere between 3 and 6 dollars an oyster. Too bad that BC residents don't appreciate what they have.... Till it's gone or exported for more money....
  14. Forget Rodney's...... If you want your oysters served with a "Toronto" attitude, by all means, go there. You will be served by "himbos" (male equivalent of bimbos). Good looking but STUPID, enjoy, by all means. If you want a positive attitude and one where you will actually learn something, then go to Joe Forte's or to the Bearfoot. But forget Rodney's (at least in Vancouver) go to the one in Toronto but forget Vancouver.
  15. Looks like we didn't play "second fiddle" to Araxi's on this one. Too bad, you didn't have the stones to come and introduce yourself last night. But it's so easy to hide behind your computer..........
  16. Whistler with a meat shop or fishmonger? Rents are over 100.00 a square foot here and there is not enough year round business to support anything like that. Farmer's market? Closed in October. Quite honestly, unless you work at a restaurant in town, your choices for produce and any quality items are severely limited. The grocery stores anywhere within almost 100 miles of this place are totally useless unless you plan on making, say, roast beef or mac and cheese or something like that.
  17. Stoked, If you want to experience these fine oysters at home, go to Albion Fisheries on Great Northern Way in Vancouver. They have a retail sales outlet and you can pick up 5 dozen of those bad boys for about 6 bucks a dozen. I think I remember you...... I always remember converting non-oyster eaters to the fold. Keep on shucking Oyster Guy
  18. I am not dissing anyone. The food and service where I work stands on it's own merit and I don't need to trumpet that fact. I guess it went unnoticed that I did reccomend other establishments other than the one I work in. The reason I said what I did is that Araxi's has not always had James Walt at the helm in the kitchen the last few years and this has meant that the food has been a tad inconsistent (for lack of a better term) I have never liked their room and it appears from the other posts that I am not the only one who feels this way. I find the room to be too open for my liking and too sterile and cold. All I said was merely my own opinion and nothing more. Tell me Andrew, are you accused of "dissing" people if you give a place a bad review or are you merely "doing your job?" I was just trying to help a visitor out with a couple suggestions, something all of us in Whistler are called upon to do numerous times everyday. Nothing more. Thanks Appreciator. It's nice that someone figured out what I was trying to do. The offer of a dozen oysters also applies to you if you get to Whistler. Keep on shucking Oyster Guy P.S. How do we play second fiddle to Araxi's? We offer a totally different experience from them and the only way a comment like that would be justified is if you are talking about the Vancouver Magazine Awards, something that we regard as a total joke as far as being a legitimate restaurant award hence our complete absence from the awards ceremony for the past 4 years. And we always manage to place second even though the judges haven't set foot in the place for over 3 years. How serious would you expect anybody to take an award when things like this happen consistently every year?
  19. Feel free to come and say "hi" as I work at the Bearfoot. I'll treat you to your first dozen oysters. Apres and Elements might seem casual but their food is right up there with the big boys in town. Apres will dent your wallet a little more than Elements though. I, myself, am a big fan of Elements. If not dinner, try their breakfast. (served till 3:00 p.m.) Glad I could help. Keep on shucking Oyster Guy
  20. These restaurants are mentioned because they are good and consistently so. Yes, they are all still good. I don't know where you read that the service at the Bearfoot wasn't good. But then, everyone has their own opinion. Out of all of the ones you have listed, I would go to the Bearfoot, Rimrock and Les Gros. When was the last time that you searched for Whistler restaurants? You've missed quite a few. The Mountain Club, Zen, Apres, and the 5280 Bistro at the 4 Seasons are missing. Le Gros is a great place that can take care of a group your size quite easily. Pascal is one of the best sauciers I have ever seen and he does simple French food like no-one else I know. The ambiance is great and it is a warm, inviting room and with a host like Pascal, you can't go wrong. A bit out of town but worth the trip. Forget about Araxi's though. Overpriced, over-rated and the place has the ambience of an airport terminal. Hope this helped. Keep on shucking Oyster Guy
  21. We had this problem too. Chef had us put out a buffet of sliced meat and cheese and the cheapest ass sliced bread. Mayo and mustard in portion packages. No lettuce, no tomatoes. When the servers asked about it, the chef said, "We've changed the staff meal to the STFU meal. And if you don't like it, you can shut the f--- up!" The whole kitchen was rolling on the floor laughing their asses off and when we were done, we had our steak dinners. Now, when one of the new servers complains about staff meal, the senior servers tell them to shut the hell up.
  22. I am truly blessed to be living and working in the beautiful Coastal Mountain Range of British Columbia. On my days off, I like to hike the surrounding mountains and get away from the maddening crowds. In the winter, it's with snowshoes but what the hell. A wineskin full of good red wine or a flask of good brandy makes for a great day. On times when it is unseasonable out (torrential downpours) a nice roaring fire, a home cooked meal, DVD's, computer games while I am doing the housework and/or laundry. Or on a nice summer day, I wander to the clothing optional dock on the lake a 15 minute walk from my front door and enjoy the sunshine not to mention the view. Keep on shucking Oyster Guy
  23. I would suggest that you go out and really walk around the area too. The weather should be beautiful and it is really an exciting city to explore. I would suggest Garde Manger in Old Montreal and to try along St. Laurent as well. There are lots of good little places for breakfast all through the area. Try around the Prince Arthur area of St. Laurent. I doubt you'll be able to get into Joe Beef while you are in town unless you make your reservations right now. Call when they are open as they don't take reso's left on the message machine. I am going to be shucking oysters at Globe on St. Laurent during that same time frame. Feel free to drop by. Keep on shucking Oyster Guy
  24. Let's face it. When you work in a restaurant, you have to believe in Murphy's Law. What can go wrong, will go wrong and at the worst possible moment. I believe that, as above, proper prep will always protect you from some of the worst things that could happen...that table of 20 walk-in's that appear just as you start to clean up for the night. Some of the rules I have learned. 90% of people do not know how to properly order: steak, fish or martinis. If you are running a special Happy Hour Promo, most people will show up in the last half hour. (This has happened to me running an oyster special. You stand around for 2 and a half hours with your thumb up your ass and then, Boom! You are 25 dozen oysters behind) On a busy night, you will always have one server that constantly screws up. The grease trap always backs up at the wrong time. (Is there ever a right time?) The stuff you are looking for in the walk-in is always hidden behind something else. You will always forget what you came into the fridge for once you get there. (I call this, "walk-in memory loss syndrome.") The perversity of the universe tends to a maximum. It is a hostile place that will kill you if you don't show the proper respect.
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