Finch & Fork’s second annual Shuck n’ Swallow oyster-shucking-and-eating competition will take over the rooftop of the Canary Hotel on Sunday, June 29, pitting one “shucker” and one “swallower” from eight food & beverage companies against each other in a race to shellfish sucking domination. The teams competing this year are from the hotel’s own restaurant Fitch & Fork as well as Blush, Enterprise Fish Company, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill, The Brewhouse, Arlington Tavern, The Hungry Cat, and Outpost S.B., the new restaurant opening next month inside of The Goodland Hotel in Goleta.

The event creates relationships with local restaurants and chefs,” said Finch & Fork’s executive chef James Siao. “We’re glad to have the venue to put something on like this. It is a great way to showcase and give back as we enjoy ourselves.”

But he’s also looking to win, of course. “With any good contest, there is competition,” said Siao. “It’s good to have bragging rights. For how close it was last year, we came in second and now we’re looking to win.” The reigning champs are from Blush, executive chef Brandon Worrell and line cook, Doug “Fresh” Galbraith.

“I think that almost every team felt it after eating that many oysters. I heard some were never the same again,” said Worrell. “My hands were destroyed afterwards. I knew after we’d won that we were going to be back again. There were a lot of supporters last year and it got loud during the contest. I look forward to seeing that again this year.”

In addition to participating, Siao will be serving Finch & Fork’s cheddar hush puppies with chipotle honey, market fresh fish tacos, salt & pepper chicken wings with chili caramel and pickled celery, deviled eggs with smoked trout, pickled shallots alongside olive relish, and, of course, oysters, with such toppings as smoked gazpacho. Vodka punches, thanks to Tito’s Handmade Vodka, wine from Riverbench, and a special beer brewed just for the event by The Brewhouse will also be flowing.

The event, which costs $30 to attend, is from 1-4 p.m. on top of the Canary, where the oyster eating competition begins at 2p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Environmental Defense Center. Oysters are provided by the event sponsor, Santa Monica Seafood Company.


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