The most anticipated foodie event of the summer is almost here with the arrival of Montreal’s Oysterfest this coming weekend (Aug. 29th-30th)
And yes, it’s a two day affair this year.
With a whole slew of additions including a new location, new entertainment, and even a Notable.ca x mpress Instagram photo booth on site, we knew we needed to get the down low on the 2015 edition.
And who better to speak to than Oysterfest founder Daniel Notkin to get the goods on the goods to come.
Brace yourselves, mollusk lovers, this year is going to be huge.
How excited are you about this year’s Oysterfest?
Amazingly excited! This year is going to be our best yet and everyone has just been working so hard on it. And there’s such an outpouring of support from people who haven’t been and are excited to come for the first time and of course those (like yourself) who have been coming since its inception. It’s really uplifting and great to hear how much it means to people.
It’s at a new location this year, why the change?
Well, we loved all our spots but just felt we needed to expand this year. Dates conflicted with our space from last year, and well…we’re happily outgrowing them like our first pair of skates.
What’s new this year?
Well, there’s a good amount of new stuff and a lot we’re focusing on and honing to perfection. We have 5 bands over the two days – flanking our mainstay Shane Murphy (who’s been with us for 6 years!) are two great friends and supporters of ours, Jonas from Jonas and the Massive Attraction, and Annakin Slayd. We have some amazing celebrity judges this year – one of my good friends and great actor Yanic Truesdale from the Gilmore Girls will be guest judging our chef’s plating competition, our head judge for the plating will be none other than celebrity chef Antonio Park from The Food Network’s Chopped. We also added two days this year; the Saturday is an open day and more of a family day. Overall, it’s about creating a continually engaging experience and something that will keep people entertained at every turn.
Everyone is asking what “So you think you can drink?” is…
It’s a competition for the amateur bartenders. We’re going to pair completely inexperienced home bartenders with professional bartenders who will pre-coach them through making a drink and adding a flair move. It’s for the wanna-be Young Flanagan in all of us (whoever gets the reference gets extra points). The top two go on to compete with their mentors in the pro competition on Sunday.
We know you’re a big supporter of ocean sustainability, what aspects of the cause will Oysterfest be supporting?
The ocean is a huge passion of mine. I grew up with summers by the sea in Gloucester, Massachusetts – the first fishing port in America. When you grow up around that, and dive for lobsters and see the entire beautiful universe that lies just beneath the surface of the water, you get an appreciation for it. We’re flattered that this care of the ocean and our event has inspired the World Wildlife Fund of Canada and their ocean and wildlife preservation as well as the Marine Stewardship Council (the premier global sustainability certification body) and their goal of certifying and making sustainability de rigueur for all of the world’s seafood consumers.
Also this year we launch the Open Pier Project, which is a global visual map of all seafood, and fish, which we hope will become the Wikipedia for understanding and appreciating our food and learning about it – you can look it up at www.openpier.org. Any fisherman or marine biologist of individual can enter in a species and all the details that surround it. Did you know, for instance, it takes a 1 lb. lobster 5-7 years to get to that size?
How many people are you expecting to attend over the two days?
We’re really hoping for about 10,000 people, a notch up from the 150 people who showed up at our first one 7 years ago.
Any words to prepare newcomers?
1. Don’t drive. Take “Share The Bus” we have from all places just outside of town like Laval, or as far as Boston, Toronto, and New York.
2. Don’t litter. We love the planet – so should you.
3. Pace yourself. It’s a long day with a lot to do.
4. Try a little of everything.
5. We’ll have about 12 different kinds of oysters. Go back to try them all because the lineup will rotate.
6. Say hi to everyone.
7. Get the $70 ticket (trust me).
8. Have the best day ever.