Chef Shannon Boyle started her culinary career in her teens as a garde manger at a small hotel in her hometown of Hudson, Que. She went on to obtain a Bachelor of Education at McGill University, where she worked as chef de cuisine at Bar Tapas Taza Flores and as sous chef at Bistro La Société in the Vogue Hotel in Montreal. Since moving to Vancouver three years ago, Boyle was most recently chef and manager at Meat & Bread before opening and becoming executive chef and general manager at ShuckShuck, a sustainable oyster bar, in 2020.
“The original concept was to promote oysters as a sustainable food source by making them more accessible to people who might be intimidated by the confines of a traditional oyster bar. This is the reasoning behind our flagship product, the topped oysters,” says Boyle. “Since then, we’ve adapted, as many restaurants do in their early days, to expand our menu and include other sustainable-seafood options, as well as local wines and craft beers.”
ShuckShuck now offers various seafood dishes, in addition to its traditional oysters and toppings, such as Calamari Noodle Salad ($11), Oyster Chowder ($12.50) and Steamed Clams & Lap Cheong ($18).
At the onset of the pandemic, ShuckShuck pivoted to takeout and delivery. Served in compostable packaging, ShuckShuck provides customers with EZ Shuck oysters, which are raw, high-pressured oysters that are easy to shuck by hand.
“It’s important to me to create a sustainable environment in our restaurant. We source local products and minimize our use of plastics and waste. We also work closely with Ocean Wise to make sure we stay up to date with their recommendations,” says Boyle.
Boyle is passionate about creating a healthy and sustainable food system as more consumers become conscious of where their food comes from. That said, she says all chefs have an opportunity to fuel positive changes in eating habits that benefit both consumers and the environment.
“Many chefs are starting to adopt this culinary style. With climate change [intensifying], it’s our responsibility as chefs to do our part in helping people choose healthy, sustainable options,” says Boyle.
Among her hundreds of kitchen gadgets, Boyle’s indispensable tool is tweezers for stability and precision, allowing her to bring plating visions to life. “When it comes to beautiful plating or small items like our oyster toppings at ShuckShuck, my tweezers really come in handy,” says Boyle.
Moving forward, Boyle wants to further educate herself as she re-imagines what the future of sustainable restaurants might look like. “I want to continue to expand my knowledge of sustainable food options and practices to share with our community,” says Boyle. “I’m most proud when I see what I create bringing people together.”
When she’s not working, Boyle enjoys visiting farmer’s markets and exploring different cuisines with her husband, who’s also a chef. If she isn’t in a kitchen, Boyle can be found boxing, reading, painting or enjoying various outdoor activities.
By Nicole Di Tomasso