Interview with Jonathan Speirs, Head Oyster Shucker

Johnothan Speirs

Jonathan Speirs has been with English’s of Brighton for 10 years, shucking oysters with the stars throughout his 32-year career in the restaurant business. We asked Jonathan a few questions about his time at English’s, serving up someone’s first oyster, and what he loves about shucking his favourite oysters.

What’s your favourite aspect of the role?
Dealing with our varied and interesting customers, and introducing oyster virgins to the wonders of the mollusc.

What’s your favourite type of oyster?
Loch Ryan Native oyster. Loch Ryan is on the west coast of Scotland, and has a blend of fresh water from the surrounding mountains, and tidal sea water. It’s also the 2nd largest sea loch in Scotland.

Do you prefer cooked or raw oysters?
Raw, essentially – but it depends on the mood.

What’s your favourite kind of oyster to shuck?
Rock oysters from the Royal Bay of Grouville, in Jersey. A simple, clean oyster – easy to shuck at speed.

Is it a special moment to witness someone try oysters for the first time?
For sure it’s nice to see a customer be pleasantly surprised when they enjoy their first oyster. They’re the next generation of customers for the future.

What’s your past experience in the restaurant business?
32 years in the seafood restaurant industry, encompassing 10 years with Wheeler’s of St. James’s, Old Compton Street, Soho, and cutting my teeth at an early age at the famous Langan’s Brasserie, under the ownership of Peter Langan, David Hockney, Michael Caine and Richard Shepherd.

You can find Jonathan at our marble-topped oyster bar, shucking your oysters in front of you. To book a table at the bar, call 01273 327980 or use our online booking form.