Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stephen Coe takes the
saying "the world is your oyster" somewhat literally. The executive
chef at the Mirbeau Inn & Spa at the Pinehills, located in historic
Plymouth, Massachusetts, is determined to personally
introduce guests to the slippery and succulent aphrodisiacs in a series
of hands-on oyster dinners that include foraging the bivalves first. Next
Wednesday, July 29, marks the first oyster outing of the summer. Some 10 to
12 guests, donning waterproof boots, will assemble at the hotel (doubles
from $295) and embark on a two-hour aquatic evening
complete with boat ride, Prosecco sipping, shucking exercises, oyster history
and education, and the opportunity to pick your own gems from
the sea.  Later, your cache will be served at a beachfront
dinner on tables set upon floating docks called mud flats.
  "The property's first anniversary was approaching, and I really
wanted to do something interactive and food-related with our guests that also
brought in the partnership we have with our local suppliers at
the Plymouth Rock Oyster Growers," says Coe, a strong advocate of
sustainable agriculture, and who, at only 35, has already acquired
20-plus years of culinary experience.  "Many people are afraid of
oysters.  I want people to appreciate the fact that, like
honey, they're all natural and have no human aspect to them. " During
the excursion, participants will spot three different types of cages that
house oysters, each in different stages of growth—from seedlings,
to two months old, to those ready for picking at one year of
age.   "The perfect oyster is usually two to three inches long and
encapsulated in a deep shell resembling a shallow cup," Coe explains.
"Once popped open, these delicious little morsels should be sitting in
clear juice and be opaque in color. " The secret to finding great
oysters lies in the tide, the natural flow of the ocean, and the minerals and
vitamins found in the water.  "Depending upon the time of year and
where the oysters have grown, they can taste sweeter, saltier, or slightly
metallic, which means they're higher in iron," he says.   While
guests are educated on the bivalve mollusks by the Plymouth Rock team,
Coe will be at a specially built cinderblock and beach wood grill
preparing local lobsters, scallops, saltwater corn—and his
special twist on oysters Rockefeller.   "I take baked
oysters and cover them with house-made pancetta, bee pollen, tomato,
Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. When they turn a golden color, I pour a
buttery, savory sauce on top. People who don't like to eat raw oysters find
they taste amazing," he says.  "At the end of the evening, any
apprehension they might have had for eating them is gone. " The oyster
excursion is one of an array of special dining experiences offered at the
property, which mirrors a French country estate, surrounded by
beautifully landscaped Monet gardens, a tranquil waterfall and Koi fishponds.
 The 50-room haven includes a 14,000-square-foot spa and three
restaurants serving local, sustainably minded cuisine, each run by Coe.
  If you can't make the oyster outing, Coe can bring the oysters to
you.  "On average we serve 1,500 to 2,000 of them a
week in the restaurant," he says. "They might be little, but they
pack a wonderful, awesome, tasty punch.  It's my goal to make sure
everyone has an opportunity to experience at least one while they're here.
" Dinners are $75 per person, and will take place regularly through
October—though tide and weather conditions will affect dates. Call the
Mirbeau at 877-647-2328 to inquire and book.   More good reads from
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this article? Share it. Previous Article New
York's Museum Of Natural History is Bringing Back Its Sleepover Program for
Grown-Ups Chef Stephen Coe at the Mirbeau Inn in Plymouth,
Massachusetts, launches a new series of oyster dinners for guests.

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