A new oyster-opening king was crowned on Monday at the annual Tabasco British Oyster Opener of the Year championship at Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill in London.
Armando Lema of Coastline La Brocca (pictured, right) secured his triumphant position after opening 30 Loch Ryan Native oysters in just 3.40 minutes, beating previous winner The Fish Shop`s Fredrik Lindfors time by six seconds. Third place this year went to Wilton’s contender Sam Tamsanguan with a time of 3.52.
Fifteen hopefuls took part from various establishments around the country, including Ladoslav Bazso from Riddle and Finns seafood restaurant in Brighton (7th), Paco Escabar from Selfridges (4th) and even Anton Andre from the Paul O’Grady Show (14th).
Chris Leftwich, championship judge and Chief Inspector of Billingsgate Market, said: “Each year the standard of shuckers becomes higher. I’ve been judging this competition for a number of years and I can honestly say that this year has been the closest yet. The top six entries showed tremendous care and accuracy and the speed in which they open these oysters is phenomenal.”
Lema received a trophy and a cheque for £250, and will now go forward to compete at the international championships in Galway.