Shuck or swallow?

Do oysters make you randy, baby?
Photo: Adactio / Flickr

It’s an age-old question: Shuck or swallow?

Whatever your preference, chefs and patrons at FIRST Food & Bar have the opportunity to do both on Monday, and both will go to benefit a good cause. The restaurant will host Shuck & Swallow – a charity event bringing together approximately 20 Vegas restaurants to compete in a contest centered on that infamous aphrodisiac: the oyster.

Each restaurant’s team will consist of two people – one to shuck and one to swallow. They’ll have 10 minutes to shuck and swallow as many oysters as they can.

First Food & Bar chef and owner Sam DeMarco.

First Food & Bar chef and owner Sam DeMarco.


Shuck & Swallow Oyster Competition
Aug. 24, 4 p.m.
FIRST Food & Bar at the Palazzo
Restaurant Guide
FIRST Food & Bar

The event’s host, FIRST Chef Sam DeMarco says he’s happy being a member of the cheering squad instead of one of the people doing the shucking or swallowing.

“[Shucking] is tough,” he says. “You really need to have a knack for it.”

DeMarco says finding the right spot to pop the knife into the shell and prying the oyster out while preserving the brininess and flavor in the muscle requires practice and skills.

According to him, FIRST’s team has been practicing and perfecting their strategy in anticipation of Monday’s competition. The winner of the event will receive a Shuck & Swallow trophy, bragging rights and a belly full of oysters.

Participating restaurants include SushiSamba, RM Seafood, Lavo, Andre’s and Daddy Macs. DeMarco said FIRST hopes to make Shuck & Swallow an annual event, both to help charities and to provide an outlet for chefs to come together for some healthy competition.

The champions of a similar event in San Diego shucked and swallowed 128 oysters in 10 minutes. The public is invited to watch as the Vegas teams attempt to reach or exceed that number. The event afterparty will include $1 oyster specials, $2 Sierra Nevada draft beer specials and $5 vodka specials. Proceeds benefit The Shade Tree shelter for homeless and abused women and children.


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