Search is on for top Scottish shucker

By Kenny Smith
SCOTTISH chefs, oyster growers, producers, fishermen and industry specialists will head to Stranraer next month in a bid to become the 2018 Scottish Oyster Shucking Champion.
Organised by Seafood Scotland, the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championships return for the second year and will see shuckers from across the country compete against each other to be crowned Scottish champion, Scottish Field reported.
The winner will also go on to represent Scotland at the world championships in Galway, Ireland.
Tristan Hugh-Jones of Loch Ryan Oysters flew the flag for Scotland in Galway following his win at last year’s championships. He secured 15th place – the first ever world ranking for Scotland – after a gruelling competition against shuckers from around the globe.
For the second year, Guinness World Record holder and world champion oyster shucker, Patrick McMurray, aka Shucker Paddy, will make his way across the Atlantic to host and judge the championships.
Shucker Paddy, who is challenging Scotland to step up to the plate when it comes to shucking, said: ‘The first Scottish ShuckOff was a great opportunity for Scotland’s shuckers to show their skills and get a feeling for the competition.
‘Securing a place at the Worlds is an incredible achievement, but now it’s game time. People have had a year to practise their technique and learn some new skills, so I expect to see a bit more rivalry between the shuckers this year. They’ll not only be competing against each other, but also against their previous times.
‘Shucking is a competitive and exciting sport and I think this year is going to serve up a classic contest between our shuckers.’
Shuckers will battle it out through heats, quarter and semi-finals before two finalists shuck it out opening around 30 oysters in under three minutes to win the coveted title.
Andy Cumming, chef lecturer at City of Glasgow College, who took part in last year’s ShuckOff, said: ‘I can’t wait to get involved again this year. I’ve shucked oysters for 30 years and I thought I was pretty good until I got to the finals and realised that I needed to up my game.
‘This year, I’m definitely more prepared and know what to expect. I’d encourage my fellow chefs and industry partners to get involved, it’s an excellent event and a great day out of the kitchen!’
Taking place at this year’s Stranraer Oyster Festival, on Saturday, September 15, festival goers will be able to cheer on shuckers competing to world standards.
Clare MacDougall, trade marketing manager at Seafood Scotland, said: ‘Following the success of last year’s championships, we just had to continue the ShuckOff spirit and host the competition for a second time.
‘This year is set to be even bigger and better as we call upon chefs and industry specialists from the seafood sector to enter for a second time. It’s a great bit of friendly competition as people compete against colleagues, competitors and friends throughout each stage of the competition.’
If you are a chef, oyster grower, fishermen, seafood professional or oyster lover working in the seafood sector and interested in taking part in the ShuckOff, please contact: debbie@clarkcommunications.co.uk or visit www.seafoodscotlandevents.com.
Picture: Chefs Gordon Reekie (left) of That’s Yer Dinner and Andy Cumming of City of Glasgow College are taking part in the second annual Scottish National Oyster Shucking Championships, organised by Seafood Scotland (Photo: Robert Perry)