PATRICK McMURRAY, the owner of Starfish Oyster Bed & Grill in Toronto, can still remember the thrill of his first oyster at the age of sixteen -- "cold, sweet and salty, like the ocean." Years later, he's still hooked on oysters and spends part of each year traveling to oyster competitions and food festivals around the globe. He also enjoys guest-shucking at oyster establishments large and small, and was recently spotted at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City. In 2002, McMurray shucked his way to the title of world champion at the Galway International Oyster Festival in Ireland. Perhaps the Starfish challenge best explains the place that oysters and oyster competitions have in Patrick McMurray's heart: "100 Malpeque Oysters. 100 Canadian Dollars. 100 Adelaide Street East [the Starfish address]. I dare you. Patrick."
"Patrick McMurray is an icon among the oyster cult of North America. Not only is he one of the world's elite competitive oyster shuckers...he operates "Starfish--"a fabulous oyster bar in Toronto, he grow oysters, he writes about oysters with passion and joy, and he, most likely, has just penned the new 'oyster bible.' This 'field guide' is a must own for all kinds of oyster lovers, from the casual enthusiast to the enlightened, life-long devotee."--Jasper White, chef/owner of Summer Shack and author of "Lobster at Home "and "Jasper White's Cooking from New England"