Where do your recipes come from? I hear that a lot. “Do your chefs come up with menu items?” Well, we don’t have chefs at the Oyster Bars; we have cooks that love to eat and cook.
The Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ annual food & wine tasting event, Forks & Corks, was last month, and when we were trying to decide what item to feature, of course, our Grandma Georgie’s Chipotle Oysters was our 1st choice, but we’ve served them (to everyone’s delight) three years in a row.
We thought it might be time to serve something different, and since we have oysters in our restaurant name, it should be an oyster dish, right?! What better way to come up with a new menu item than to make it a contest between our kitchen staff at all four Oyster Bars.
I mean we already serve oysters so many ways you can hear Bubba Blue saying, “We got Steamed Oysters, Fried Oysters, Oysters Maria, Chipotle Oysters, Garlic Parmesan Oysters, Oyster Stew, Oyster Rockefeller, Raw Oysters…” I loved Forrest Gump.
We challenged each store, and on the Monday before Forks & Corks, we had a taste off. That was a tough task to “have to eat” four different oyster dishes. There was a knock off of the New Orleans classic Bienville style, one with ghost peppers – wow, was that good and HOT, a bacon, tomato and sour cream oyster – how can you go wrong with bacon? You can’t is the answer.
But the winner was our new Tequila Lime Oysters. OMG are they awesome. We’re known for Margaritas and oysters, and this combines both. Will, Rolando and Luis at our Cortez kitchen worked together and came up with a great new oyster dish that has tequila (cooked down) lime juice, orange juice, garlic butter, pepper, chili flakes and green onions.
We cooked them at Forks & Corks and we served over 900 of them and got rave reviews from almost everyone. Must have been the bacon lover that wasn’t sold on the new ones. We sampled the new ones with a shot of our famous Margaritas. They both were a hit!
So we’re rewarding Rolando, Will and Luis for coming up with our new dish by giving them part of the proceeds from all four stores’ sales of the new appetizers for February and March. So come in and order a dozen – or two dozen… or Chipotle, or raw, steamed, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, BBQ shrimp, shrimp scampi… Thanks Bubba.
And thanks to Rolando, Will and Luis and Jose, Mike and Edensen and Danny and Jefe and Madden, Jose and Pedro. You guys are the best anywhere!
Do you know the difference between a cook and a Chef?
About $50,000 a year. There are a lot more differences, but that’s enough for me. I love our cooks ‘cause we ALL love food.