Batemans Bay oyster grower Jim Yiannaros has taken out the Narooma Oyster Festival shucking contest for a third successive year.
In a tight run contest, Jim made to the finals where he competed against Gerard Dennis of Australia’s Oyster Coast and Greg Carton of Broadwaters Oysters at Pambula, who finished second and third respectively.
Mr Yiannaros before Saturday’s contest had promised to retire if he was victorious for a third time, but now he is having second thoughts due a rivalry shaping up with his former prodigy Mr Dennis.
“I taught him to open oysters back when he worked with us of Batemans Bay Oysters and before he went on to become operations manager at Australia’s Oyster Coast,” he said. “Now he wants a rematch, so I am not sure I can retire as I need to show him who is boss again.”
And what happened to Jim's twin brother John, also a previous winner at the Narooma shucking, who was talked up as a possible victor before the event?
Well Jim reckons the excitement of the competition got to his brother, who could not take the pressure, finishing fourth.
“I think his nerves got the better of him and he dropped a few oysters,” he said.
Jim and his brother John have been shucking oysters since the age of four or five, when their dad moved their family to the Clyde River to start farming oysters.
This year’s shucking event was judged by John Susman, one of the biggest names in seafood in Australia and chair of oyster judges at Sydney Royal’s Fine Food Show.
The shucking is not all about speed, with 20 oysters to open per competitor in the heats and 30 in the final, but also presentation of the oysters with no shell grit allowed.
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