A pearl of a masterclass
LOCAL oyster lovers and chefs had the chance to learn from some of the country's top aficionados at Beach Byron Bay.
The Appellation Oysters Chefs (AOC) oyster masterclass earlier this month gave participants the opportunity for some of the region's best chefs to get together for a knowledge-based session on the famed native Sydney rock oyster.
The class was hosted by Australia's Oyster Coast and Shuck Oysters Ballina, in conjunction with Yarra Valley Caviar and Australian Finger Lime Caviar.
Guests were able to taste and learn more about Yarra Valley Caviar's fabulous range of salmon and sturgeon caviar, and hear from Australian Finger Lime Caviar - a local farming enterprise that has been at the forefront of commercial finger lime cultivation for nearly 20 years.
The afternoon was MC'ed by legendary seafood raconteur and writer John Susman, and conducted by the CEO of AOC Mark Allsopp, who took chefs through an introduction to AOC, its shareholder farmers and the numerous estuaries up and down the NSW coast where their Sydney rock oysters are produced.
Mr Allsopp also covered aspects like best farming practice, harvest and how the biology and growing region affect the various flavour profiles of oysters.
Chefs and guests then had an opportunity to taste oysters from AOC's Wallis Lake farm, north of Newcastle, and from Berrys Bay (known as the 'holy water' for the quality of oysters grown) on the Shoalhaven River south of Sydney.
Shuck Oysters Ballina's founder Lucy Ashley gave guests some tips on caring for oysters.
Yarra Valley Caviar's Natalie Traversa showcased a stunning range of Australian salmon caviar and imported sturgeon caviar - each with distinct flavour profiles and culinary applications.
Guests tasted each of the caviars in the traditional manner - on the back of their hands - then had a chance to enjoy more oysters topped with Yarra Valley Caviar's stunning cold-smoked salmon caviar.
Local farmer Sheryl Rennie from Australian Finger Lime Caviar, who was one of the first farmers to produce finger limes commercially, supplying to famed international restaurants like E Bulli, demonstrated a unique technique for chefs preparing their finger limes for use.
Karl Kanetani from Town Restaurant in Bangalow demonstrated for the first time a technique he has developed for easily separating the citrus pearls from the seeds.
The aim of the masterclass was to educate guests in order for local chefs to continue providing top-tier quality oysters and seafood which local residents are used to.
With another masterclass already in the works, for more information contact Lucy Ashley at Shuck Oysters on either 0401569382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.