A chip of the old block is a popular saying when one follows the family tradition.
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But perhaps we have to come up with a new phrase, with something to do about opening or shucking oysters after the daughter of former world champion oyster Jim Wild took out the inaugural Women's Oyster Shucking Competition at the Narooma Oyster Festival.
Perhaps it could be a chip of the shell?
Sally McLean, of Jim Wild’s Oysters on the Shoalhaven River, took out the competition from Sue McIntyre, of Broadwater Oysters, Pambula Lake and Vlasia Yiannaros, of Oysters Unplugged in third place at the festival at the weekend.
Sally’s father Jim was a former world and Australian Oyster Shucking Champion and at one time the world record holder for oyster shucking.
He was also the former master of ceremonies of the Narooma’s shucking competition.
The inaugural ladies shucking competition highlighted the more prominent roles women are now playing in the industry.
In the men’s competition Australia's Oyster Coast shucker Gerard Dennis narrowly beat his former boss Jim Yiannaros who has been the champion since the perpetual trophy’s inception.
Last Saturday’s Narooma festival has been hailed as the best ever.
“We have hit a new high after 10 years of the festival,” said Narooma Chamber of Commerce president and festival committee chair Niels Bendixsen.
“Feedback at the festival from leading seafood chefs and food writers rate it now one of the best seafood festivals in the country.”
Twice as many people attended the festival compared to last year, consuming about 60 per cent more oysters.
“It was stunning to see so many people having such a wonderful time throughout the festival on such a beautiful Narooma May day,” he said
“We’re still crunching the numbers, but we estimate more than 4000 people attended the event including many from Sydney and Canberra, with one person even coming from Chicago in the United States. The whole vibe was fantastic.
“The focus of course was on oysters from the eight or nine estuaries from the Shoalhaven to the Victorian border.
“Each with their own unique flavour making for a hectic day at Oyster Alley with most stalls selling out by mid-afternoon.”
It is estimated about 42,000 opened Sydney Rock Oysters were sold, along with many hundreds of dozen Pacific and flat oysters, and that’s not taking into account all the unopened oysters sold.
Mr Bendixsen said a wide range of gourmet food was available from leading South Coast cafes and caterers.
The Ultimate Oyster Experience lived up to its name, with rave reviews from those who took part and the expanded cooking demonstrations were “jam-packed” all day.
“Our South Coast chefs held their own with some of the country’s leading chefs, and Kelly Eastwood was magnificent as the master of ceremonies,” said festival committee member Cath Peachey.
Organiser of the festival’s Aboriginal involvement Cheryl Davison was ecstatic.
“It was so fantastic for our mob to feel such a significant part of the festival,” she said.
“Everyone absolutely loved talking with those cooking at the fire pit and tasting what they cooked, and with Uncle Noel talking about bush tucker next door.
“It was even more successful than I ever imagined. It has given everyone so much pride.”
Wonderful entertainment and some great music capped a superb event.
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