More shucking, on the canadaisabigplace blog...
Watch John on the Today Show, March 2009 (USA only)
Vanity Fair, February 2009:
Time Out New York, February 2009:
"For the traditional lover's feast, you can't do better than the down-to-earth Flex Mussels, on?New York's Upper East Side, where the motto is "Grab, Eat, Repeat." John Bil, straight from Canada's Prince Edward Island, where the original Flex Mussels is located, mans the bar shucking 18 oysters in 90 seconds to give you a sampling of the shellfish from around the world, including rare wild oysters from a bed recently discovered off the coast of Maine."
-Time Magazine, January 2009
The main attraction at Flex Mussels, though, is a P.E.I. native named John Bil, whom Shapiro brought down to help him open up shop. Bil, who mixes drinks and commands the dining room with both a surfer's insouciance and a shipbuilder's precision, is a three-time oyster-shucking champion-"You know how you've got dog walkers here?", he asked recently. "Well, we've got oyster shuckers up there"-and he and his beach buddies like to steam a batch of mussels, freeze them in seawater, and, when drunk, thaw them and eat them like popcorn. Over a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc in a room that smells more like the Atlantic Ocean than Coney Island does, Bil teaches you to eat them that way, too. He resolves moments of confusion without pretense or condescendence. Is a cooked but still closed mussel okay to eat? "Open it. If it looks wrong, don't eat it." It didn't, and he did."
-The New Yorker, January 2009
"On my next visit to Montreal, I will put back another couple of dozen oysters at Joe Beef...
Shucked on the night I was there by John Bil, the restaurant's champion oyster shucker (he captured the Canadian shucking crown three times), we slurped small, sweet oysters from Prince Edward Island and fat Moonstone oysters from Rhode Island, each shell brimming with oyster liquor like a bathtub with the faucet left on."
-NY Times, April 2008
"John Bil, one of the island's shellfish shamans, not to mention one of Canada's fastest oyster shuckers..."
-NY Times, November 2007
"...watching John Bil prepare the delicacy makes you admire this mundane kitchen task, which can be done with skill and grace:He's exacting, precise and lightning-quick."
-canada.com/National Post, August 2007
"But back to my dream. In it, oyster shucking champion John Bil is opening yet another fabulous Colville Bay..."
-The Buzz, PEI, September 2006
-bloomberg.com, January 2005
-Anita Stewart, The Flavours of Canada
"...one of the best."
-Boston Globe, March 2004
"It's the first 20,000 that are the hardest, said the quiet spoken oyster-man, knifing into oyster after oyster..."
-Montreal Gazette, February 2002
"A local hero in the eyes of those who worship one of the world's great oysters: the delectable Malpeque oyster of Prince Edward Island"
-Ottawa Citizen, July 2002