It is hard to believe that 2015 is winding down- and that "Oyster" has come and gone! We had an amazing weekend in Gulf Shores and if you missed it, you missed a party! This was my fourth year to host the Hangout's Oyster Cookoff... and this was the biggest year yet with more teams. more celebrity chefs, more oysters, and even the first ever North American Oyster Showcase. This year's lineup included Food Network Chefs Anne Burrell, Marc Murphy, Michele Ragussis, Ippy Aiona, and Jason Roberts. We had such a good time!
We arrived into town early for press and that left us a lot of time for fun. From our basecamp at Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, we cooked dinner every night in the expansive and well-stocked kitchens and spent the days on Alabama's beautiful beaches right in front of the condo. My chefs from elsewhere are always shocked at Alabama's beautiful beaches- we had an awesome afternoon stand-up paddleboarding on the Gulf. Actually, I did not stand up too long but it was a ton of fun! That tiny dot in the one photo is Jason. Thank you to Ryan at Perdido Beach Services for delivering our paddleboards to us!
We threw a "family supper" pot luck on Sunday night in one of the five bedroom penthouse units... Jason made paella, Michele made her famous meatballs with spaghetti, Anne made a jambalaya, and I made homemade apple tarts with bourbon caramel sauce and ice cream. I had some Nashville friends pop in to play: Marc-Alan Barnette and Jimbeau Hinton were a big hit with everyone. Turquoise Place is such a wonderful part of our Oyster Cookoff weekend; although the days are long and the work is tough, when you have such a lovely place to come home to each night... plus the hot tub out on each balcony.... well, you really never want to leave.
We went fishing with our buddy Captain Marty from Salty Dog Fishing Charters who always finds the fish! There was some smack talk and wagering going on-- being the ultimate host, I had to allow my guests the victory, of course.
We had a fun night at karaoke- one of Chef Burrell's favorite things to do. Check out our duet photo below. There is also video of Jason Roberts dancing but I've promised not to post it.