Oyster mission's a pearler

By Ben Hill

Chef Gareth Stewart sampling Bluff Oysters straight out of the sea on an oyster boat in the Foveaux Straight in the early hours of 01 March 2016. Photo / Supplied
Chef Gareth Stewart sampling Bluff Oysters straight out of the sea on an oyster boat in the Foveaux Straight in the early hours of 01 March 2016. Photo / Supplied

The race to deliver the season's first Bluff oysters has taken two chefs on a sleep-deprived odyssey from one of Auckland's top restaurants to the bottom of the South Island and back.

Gareth Stewart and Hayden Smith jumped on a plane to Queenstown after finishing their shifts at Auckland waterfront restaurant Euro on Monday afternoon, with a mission to bring a deep south delicacy to the big smoke in just over 24 hours.

Taking a truck from Queenstown to Bluff, the chefs had a 30-minute sleep before they were out on the water dredging for oysters.

"As the locals say it was a bit sloppy ... which means that it's pretty bloody rough," Mr Stewart said.

After dredging for nine hours from 3am to midday and then flying back to present the delicacies in Auckland last night, Mr Stewart was full of admiration for the effort required to acquire the molluscs.

"These guys are the most hardworking people I've ever come across. It's actually very humbling to work with them ... I won't complain about the price of oysters again."

He was happy with the quality of the haul, and Euro was last night ready to serve and open its first 300kg of oysters of the season.

- NZ Herald

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