Photos courtesy of Diego Isio
Jose Valdez (left) and Nathan Hall (right) both took home prizes in the annual Grand Central Oyster Frenzy.

Two Queens men proved that the world was indeed their oyster during a Manhattan event celebrating the beloved bivalve.

On Sept. 29, the Grand Central Oyster Bar celebrated the 16th anniversary of its “Grand Central Oyster Frenzy.” Hosted by Marc Ernay, sports director at 1010 WINS Radio, the event featured live demonstrations as well as the annual oyster shucking and “Slurp Off” competitions.

For the third year in a row, Woodhaven resident Jose Valdez took home the professional oyster shucking title. The shucking competition called for six shucked Raspberry Point oysters in the opening round, Hama Hama oysters in round two, and Naked Cowboy oysters in the finale, with the Naked Cowboy himself making an appearance at the event.

Valdez, a former Oyster Bar shucker-turned-Uber driver, took home the $3,000 prize after beating out the Oyster Bar’s Antonio Aguila.

Another Queens resident was victorious in the event’s annual “Slurp Off.” Sunnyside’s Nathan Hall, who also won the slurp-off competition in 2015, became the first repeat winner in the history of the Frenzy.

The annual event also hosted an oyster tasting which featured dishes from Admir Alibasic of Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse in New York City, oyster farmer Abigail Carroll from Nonesuch Oyster Company, Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming for the James Beard House and Paul Greenberg, James Beard award-winning author of “Four Fish” and “The Omega Principle.”

The event was sponsored by Blue Island Oyster Company, J.P. Shellfish, Hama-Hama Oyster Company and Nonesuch Oyster Co.


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