Hot Chef: Brett Naylor gets his hands dirty at Oyster House

Brett Naylor of Oyster House is a shucking specialist.
Brett Naylor of Oyster House is a shucking specialist.

After giving the food at Urban Outfitters headquarters a fresh, healthy spin and enjoying a stint cooking at Tria, Brett Naylor landed at the popular Oyster House last May. We caught up with the South Philly chef and learned about his bicoastal vacations, how his young son influences where the family hangs out and, of course, what’s new at Oyster House.

Oyster House is hosting an oyster shucking competition April 6. What will that be like?
We invited a whole lot of amateur shuckers, shuckers from all over the city. There will be competitions for who’s the fastest, the cleanest and the overall best shucker. The whole dining room fills up with customers for a few hours and it gets super loud in there. And you get to meet people who are into oysters, so it’s awesome.

You’re approaching your first anniversary at Oyster House. Any celebration plans?
My wife and I just went to San Francisco for a week, so we’ll call that my celebration. We ate at a ton of different places. The restaurants and the big outdoors were so inspiring. Plus, the whole time we were there it was 75 degrees and sunny.

Do you go to the shore in the summer?
Oh yeah, we always go down in the summer to hang out. We have a 2-year-old son who loves the ocean and the sand. One of my favorite things is going down the shore and eating on the dock. There are a couple places we like. There’s Mike’s Seafood, which might be in Sea Isle [City]. It’s right on the bay and there are boats all around. We go there pretty religiously.

When you’re down there, you’re not cooking?
No way. I rarely cook on vacation!

Are your going-out habits different now that you have a young son?
Well, we don’t go out in the city all that much. It’s really just a question of how valuable our time is. My son can only really last in a restaurant for about a half hour. He cooks with us at home a lot, though. He helps clean veggies and stirs things.

Where do you take him when you go out?
We like to go to Morris Arboretum or Longwood Gardens, go hiking maybe. Or we’ll go to flea markets. We just try to maximize our days off when we can.


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