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Five questions for Christophe Happillon at the Oyster Gourmet at Grand Central Market - LA Times

LA Times article about Christophe Happillon





 the oystergourmet opens at the Grand Central Market

the oyster gourmet kiosk







Keep on Shuckin’

If oysters truly are an aphrodisiac, consider Christophe Happillon LA’s Cupid. Presiding over his portable raw bar packed high with ice and oysters, this roving maitre écailler (shellfish specialist) has become a staple on the local dining scene. oyster gourmet LA confidentialWith regular weekly pop-up appearances at some of the city’s top restaurants—Church & State, Joe’s Restaurant and The Edison, to name a few—Happillon has become the source for top-notch raw oysters as well as for a free tableside education on everything from the history of oysters to current trends in fishing. “Oysters are sustainable, so it’s interesting to promote something that doesn’t deplete the ocean,” he says.

The oyster master’s own watery roots can be traced to his childhood by the Mediterranean Sea in Montpellier, France, where his grandfather was a fisherman. As an adult, Happillon followed his family’s footsteps and got into the fishing industry as well, getting a bachelor’s degree in fish farming and at one point owning a smokehouse that specialized in smoked salmon. “It’s in my blood,” he says.

Although Happillon acknowledges a deep-rooted oyster tradition on the East Coast, you’ll usually find his display brimming with West Coast delicacies from Mexico, Canada and the US, such as Luna, Fanny Bay, Barron Point and Endless Summer oysters—all of which are shucked by Happillon himself. “I’m a troubadour,” he says. “It’s a crusade to spread the gospel of the oyster.” Visit—LESLEY MCKENZIE





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