Join Billion Oyster Project on February 7, 2019 at Delmonico’s Restaurant for a culinary adventure to reflect on the history and future of New York Harbor as an ecologically diverse ecosystem and food source.
Billion Oyster Project’s Back to the Future event is a chef collaboration dinner at Delmonico’s Restaurant for an exclusive 100 guests. This culinary experience will feature chefs involved in our Shell Collection Program including Chef Corey Chow of Per Se, Chef Billy Oliva of Delmonico’s, Chef Naama Tamir of Lighthouse, Chef Hugue Dufour of M. Wells, and Chef David Seigal of Cull & Pistol. We’re also pleased to welcome Mark Kurlansky, author of The Big Oyster, as our special guest speaker.
The 4-course menu for the evening will showcase seafood that currently is or was, at one time, abundant in New York Harbor. While the seafood will not be sourced directly from New York Harbor due to its current health, the menu will highlight the incredible diversity and abundance that the Harbor once had. The evening’s program will cover the diverse reasons that New York Harbor isn’t in peak health, the history and ecology of oysters in New York Harbor, how pollution has affected New York Harbor as a food system, and what the future of New York Harbor might look like with billions of oysters and millions of people working together to restore its health.
We look forward to welcoming you at Delmonico’s Restaurant, America’s first restaurant with deep historical culinary roots tied to New York Harbor in its heyday.
Mark Kurlansky was born in Hartford, Connecticut. After receiving a BA in Theater from Butler University in 1970, and refusing to serve in the military, Kurlansky worked in New York as a playwright. He worked many other jobs in his lifetime including as a commercial fisherman, a dock worker, a paralegal, a cook, and a pastry chef.
From 1976 to 1991 he worked as a foreign correspondent for The International Herald Tribune, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on Europe, West Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
His articles have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The International Herald Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Partisan Review, Harper’s, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Audubon Magazine, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Bon Apetit and Parade.
He has had 31 fiction, nonfiction, and children's books published, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and has taught and guest lectured all over the world on history, writing, environmental issues, and other subjects. His books have been translated into twenty-five languages and he often illustrates them himself.
A brief history of oysters in New York City
New York Harbor once was the home to over 200,000 acres of oyster reef which provided shoreline protection, habitat for thousands of marine species, and delightful bites for both the rich and poor of New York City. Oysters were enjoyed both in restaurants and out on the street from oyster carts similar to our hot dog carts of today.
However, by the early 1900’s due to over-harvesting and pollution, the native oyster beds were virtually extinct. Thanks to the passing of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the water is now clean enough for oyster restoration. However, New York Harbor is by no means clean enough to harvest oysters for consumption, as it was in the past.
Join Billion Oyster Project for an evening of culinary collaboration as we reflect on New York Harbor’s history and envision the what our local marine ecosystem would look like as a world-class public space, well used and well cared for - our commons.
Thank you to our friends at The Lobster Place for donating seafood product to this event.