Fresh Hama Hama oysters from Washington State and pan sautéed halibut were on the menu when multi-award-winning Seattle Chef/Restaurateur/Cookbook author Renee Erickson (see bio info below) visited the University of Hawai’i Maui College Culinary Arts program on February 20. More than two dozen students attended the demonstration and workshop which focused on seafood and sustainability, something at the heart of Chef Erickson’s brand and, of course, critical in the Hawaiian Islands.
Joining Chef Erickson was her husband and oyster shucker extraordinaire Dan Crookston. He taught the students proper technique while stressing the importance of remembering that the oysters are live animals and must be treated with respect. It was the first time most of the students had ever shucked an oyster and, for many of them, the first time they ever tasted one, too. They were positively wowed! Student Jennalyn Yadao was quick to catch on to proper shucking technique and proclaimed, “I’m addicted to these oysters!”
Chef Erickson also demonstrated proper fish butchery using halibut, how to make compound butter, and her method of sautéeing and butter-basting the fish.
UHMC Chef Instructors Craig Omori, Tom Lelli, and Peter Pak helped facilitate. The workshop was sponsored by the Hawai’i Culinary Education Foundation and organized by Executive Director Hayley Matson-Mathes.
About Renee Erickson
Seattle native Renee Erickson is a James Beard awarding-winning chef, author, and co-owner of multiple properties in Seattle, Washington: The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Barnacle, Bar Melusine, Bateau, Bistro Shirlee, Deep Dive, Willmott’s Ghost, Westward and several General Porpoise Doughnuts locations
Renee Erickson’s food, casual style, and appreciation of simple beauty is an inspiration to her staff and guests in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In 2014 she published her first cookbook “A Boat, a Whale and a Walrus” to critical acclaim, finding itself on top reading lists while winning a 2015 PNBA book award (Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association) . . . the first for a cookbook.
– James Beard Award for 2016 Best Chef Northwest: The Whale Wins, Renee Erickson
– Bon Appetit Hot 10’s Best New Restaurants: The Walrus and the Carpenter
1 – Live Hama Hama oysters
2 – Dan Crookston (Chef Erickson’s husband) shows students proper shucking technique
3 – Student Meili Jahja tastes her first-ever raw oyster!
4 – Student Sheila Marie Simon – a successful first shuck!
5 – Chef Renee Erickson works with student Amberlin Lee
6 – Chef Renee Erickson on making a compound butter
7 – Chef Renee Erickson talks about fish butchery
8 – Chef Renee Erickson and Dan Crookston fry oysters
9 – The delicious finished product
10 – Chef Renee Erickson demonstrates butter basting fish fillets
11 – Student Jennalyn Yadao is thrilled to know how to shuck fresh oysters
12 – Group shot following the demo/workshop
Photos courtesy UHMC Culinary Arts Program