The Love List

est. 2006 // BY JESS GRAVES

You Should've Gone to the Alabama Oyster Social. Here's Why.

FEB 15, PEOPLE, BOOZE, AGENDA, PARTIESJess Graves

Words: Jess Graves | Photos: Caroline Fontenot

If you follow our "Agenda" section, you're aware that we do our best to let y'all know about the coolest events going down in the South. While everything we spotlight is hand-picked with heart, sometimes an event is so special, we just have to share some pictures after the fact. Case in point: The Alabama Oyster Social.


The good news: Alabama oysters are soaring in popularity.

The bad news: the family who owns the land where lots of the most beloved oyster breeds (Mon Louis, Murder Point, Turtlebacks, Captain Zeke's, Pass Huitre and Southern Pearls) are raised and harvested won't renew the lab's lease.

What does that mean? All those oysters need a new home, as does Auburn's training and research area. So, they're moving - to a bigger, more optimistic location with a litany of opportunity for growth. But it takes time, effort, research and money to make that transition happen for the hardworking farming families who will continue raising oysters on the new land.

That's where Chefs David Bancroft (you can read more about him here) and Rob McDaniel come in.

Sure, the Alabama Oyster Social was thrown to celebrate the Alabama oyster and the folks who raise them, including Dr. Bill Walton's Crew at the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory. But more pressing was the financial burden on the program. As we all can attest, moving is expensive. So Chef Bancroft pulled together a stellar crew of selfless Southern culinary talent, a lot of booze and one very fine aged ham to throw the social and raise money for their cause.

The social itself raised $25,000, which is impressive enough. But Auburn University Shellfish Lab is still in need of donations to lock in their future.

If you'd like to make a donation (and you ought to), you can do that here:

 

Now, onto the pictures!

Chef David Bancroft of Acre Restaurant in Auburn, who spearheaded the event with Chef Rob McDaniel.

Chef David Bancroft of Acre Restaurant in Auburn, who spearheaded the event with Chef Rob McDaniel.

Kimball House Atlanta's Bryan Rackley.

Kimball House Atlanta's Bryan Rackley.

FoodBar's George McMillan III, Fischer's Bill Briand, and Central's Randy Gresham serve up their "Smoked Milk Poached Oyster with Salsify Purée".

FoodBar's George McMillan III, Fischer's Bill Briand, and Central's Randy Gresham serve up their "Smoked Milk Poached Oyster with Salsify Purée".

"Smoked Milk Poached Oyster with Salsify Purée".

"Smoked Milk Poached Oyster with Salsify Purée".

Guests dive in to freshly-shucked mollusks.

Guests dive in to freshly-shucked mollusks.

MoPho New Orleans' Chef Mike Gulotta preparing his "Clermont Special" for guests.

MoPho New Orleans' Chef Mike Gulotta preparing his "Clermont Special" for guests.

A lineup of fried oysters ("potato chip crusted", if we're being correct about it) courtesy of the girls from 'Willa Jean, Kelly Fields and LisaMarie White.

A lineup of fried oysters ("potato chip crusted", if we're being correct about it) courtesy of the girls from 'Willa Jean, Kelly Fields and LisaMarie White.

Yours truly and my buddy Tommy Trott. I think there was a joke here about the champagne cork on the album cover and the champagne table in the VIP tent. Who knows.

Yours truly and my buddy Tommy Trott. I think there was a joke here about the champagne cork on the album cover and the champagne table in the VIP tent. Who knows.

Aforementioned champagne.

Aforementioned champagne.

Acre's Chef de Cuisine Caleb Fischer divvying out a spread that included shrimp, octopus and deviled eggs.

Acre's Chef de Cuisine Caleb Fischer divvying out a spread that included shrimp, octopus and deviled eggs.

Caleb Caudle performs.

Caleb Caudle performs.

Chef Bancroft carves up a delicious finely aged ham to the delight of a hungry crowd.

Chef Bancroft carves up a delicious finely aged ham to the delight of a hungry crowd.

Chef Gulotta happily partakes.

Chef Gulotta happily partakes.

That's legit.

That's legit.

Atlanta's Chef Adam Evans manning the fire with Justin DeVillier from La Petite Grocery in New Orleans.

Atlanta's Chef Adam Evans manning the fire with Justin DeVillier from La Petite Grocery in New Orleans.

In good spirits before the donation reveal.

In good spirits before the donation reveal.

BOOM. 25K. Chef Kelly Fields, Auburn's Dr. Bill Walton, SpringHouse's Rob McDaniel, Back Forty Beer's Jason Wilson,  Chef Bancroft and Chef Fischer are all smiles.

BOOM. 25K. Chef Kelly Fields, Auburn's Dr. Bill Walton, SpringHouse's Rob McDaniel, Back Forty Beer's Jason Wilson,  Chef Bancroft and Chef Fischer are all smiles.