“[Beaufort Street] is probably the most vibrant street in Perth…”
Jerry Fraser is possibly one of the most friendly faces you will encounter on Beaufort Street. That is a pretty big title to claim considering Mt Lawley is just teeming with many fun, friendly souls. Known around the traps as ‘The Mother Shucker’, Jerry is one of Perth’s finest oyster shuckers and story tellers. With over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Jerry is a very knowledgable man and he is only too keen to pass that knowledge on. Many afternoons and evenings have been spent at Jerry’s shucking station, with a beverage in hand, while he shucks, prepares and educates… all served up with that giant, signature smile of course!
I have always liked Jerry and his larger-than-life personality, so I thought it was fitting that I kick off my ‘Mt Lawley Life’ series by sharing a little bit more of Jerry’s story!
So, why oysters? How did it all start?
I was always a lover of oysters and when I was at university in Florida I ran an oyster bar. It was fantastic, I could eat for free, drink for free, meet girls and get paid all under one roof. I am a geologist by trade, so I did a year of that in South america in 1982, then went to London in 1983 and ran oyster bars for 12 years there. Now, I have been in Perth running oyster bars for 20 years. I ran Fish House, Meads on the Bay and Black Toms from 1997 to 2001, then freelanced for 11 years at Must, Five Bar, Raffles, Print Hall, Lot 20 – all over the place. Now I shuck at Five and Lot 20, freelance, and run oyster bars with different charities on a yearly basis including Lifeline, The Chefs Long Table, Alzheimers, Breast Cancer Care, The Heart Foundation, Beyond Blue and Styleaid. I also get invited to do oyster festivals in Bali, Singapore, Jakarta and America.
What is your favourite thing about Mt Lawley?
I love ‘the strip’ (NB: Beaufort St) because it always has a vibe. People have quite sophisticated palettes along here, so they understand food and drink. I am really enjoying Five Bar and Lot 20 as they have brought me back to where I first started. I just love the way new bars and restaurants are popping up everywhere.
What are the best oysters you have ever had?
The best oysters I have ever had are from Northern Ireland, from a little area called Sketrick Island. They have an unbelievable flavour! The place is a nature reserve so there is no pollution, the waters are very cold and there are lots of nutrients flowing into the bay. The best oysters in Australia are from Tasmania from an area called St Helens in the north east corner. The farm, Lease 65 is in Moulting Bay.
What is your best advice for someone who has never had an oyster before?
You have to pace yourself very gently. You have to be educated – if you are educated about them and about eating them fresh, then it is not as daunting. Eating shellfish fresh is the way it should be done.