You might have noticed camera crews on the waterfront last week as the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here descended on Smitty’s Oyster House in Gibsons.
The popular show is hosted by comedian John Catucci who takes his turn in the kitchen learning how to make delicious dishes that make him declare, “You gotta eat here.”
On Dec. 5 and 6, Catucci and his crew were taping at Smitty’s after their research team found the little waterfront restaurant with rave reviews on-line.
Once in Gibsons, Catucci was impressed with the menu he saw, which was created by chef Conor Lowe and owner Stafford Lumley.
He particularly liked the dish he made on the morning of Dec. 5 when Coast Reporter came to talk with him — the oyster po’ boy.
“There’s deep fried oysters on a very large bun with a homemade remoulade that’s like a spicy mayonnaise with capers and some pickle juice. Very tasty. That remoulade just works perfectly with the fried oysters, which are breaded and fried in butter,” Catucci said.
Besides eating the oyster po’ boy, the highlight of the morning for Catucci was shucking an oyster.
“That was fun. I didn’t cut myself,” he noted. “Don’t stab yourself with the knife was one of the big rules.”
Catucci is described as “a funny man who takes his food seriously” and he travels all over Canada visiting restaurants large and small in search of Canada’s most delicious recipes. He then attempts to make the recipes with the chefs he meets and posts those recipes on-line for fans to check out.
When Coast Reporter spoke with him, Catucci was looking forward to making two more dishes at Smitty’s — Saltspring mussels and halibut fritters — and taking up-close shots of the food for the show.
“We call that food porn,” he said.
The following day Catucci planned to interview guests and get their feelings on the food for the show.
“The whole two days of filming will be edited and condensed into about a six or seven-minute segment,” Catucci noted.
Those few minutes of fame are welcomed by owner Lumley, who said Smitty’s Oyster House has gained lots of attention through magazine and newspaper articles since opening in 2007. This will be the restaurant’s first time being featured on television.
Catucci said the segment will likely air in February on the Food Network.
In 2005 Lumley, who was operating an oyster house in Vancouver at the time, stumbled upon an old marine repair shop on Gibsons’ waterfront and envisioned the new seaside establishment.
After much work, Smitty’s Oyster House was ready to open in 2007. Its unique atmosphere, fresh food and beautiful location have been drawing in visitors ever since.
Find out more at www.smittysoysterhouse.com.