Bobby Groves was born in Maldon, Essex in the lowlands of the east coast of England. In 2006, he began working on his local oyster farm Maldon Oysters cultivating, delivering and exporting shellfish, and as an oyster shucker in London food markets for both Maldon and West Mersea shucking thousands of oysters a day.
In 2010, he founded Bobby's Oysters which began life as an oyster tastings and event service and has over the years expanded to become a brand and platform for oyster industry training, education & connecting rural producers to markets. Bobby's Oysters founded the London Shucker Alliance (LSA)- a knowledge sharing collective of the city's oyster workers from markets to fine dining.
In 2015 he launched the oyster program at London restaurant Chiltern Firehouse and now oversees the oyster programs for AB Properties in Los Angeles, London and Shelter Island, Long Island.
In 2018/19, Bobby completed a 5000 mile journey on a Triumph motorcycle around the coasts of the British Isles and Ireland for his book Oyster Isles (published Aug 2019 by Little, Brown/Hachette). Oyster Isles is a celebration of oyster culture past and present with themes of nutrition, reef restoration, environmental factors and associated history.
Bobby is Newcastle United supporter thanks to his Geordie father, a punk rock fan and has played in the folk band Beans On Toast since 2010.
A JOURNEY THROUGH BRITAIN AND IRELAND'S OYSTERS
Click the book to buy
The oyster. Ostrea edulis. 'Edible bones'.
The Great British & Irish oyster is deeply embedded in our geographical, historical and socio-cultural landscape. Five-thousand-year-old oyster shells have been discovered in the northern reaches of Scotland, and oyster shells are littered along the extinct riverbeds deep beneath the London of today. A highly prized delicacy of the Romans, the oyster has always been a class leveller: an everyman food of the poor during the Victorian age to a food of decadence during the twentieth century. It is a superfood; a biological water meter; an ecological superpower. The oyster card, 'the world is your oyster' - it has even crept into our language.
Bobby Groves, Head of Oysters at the Chiltern Firehouse, takes us on a wonderful journey of the British oyster, a five-thousand-mile motorcycle odyssey of Britain's spectacular coastlines. He vividly brings to life this strange and marvellous creature, shining a light on its rich and vibrant history, its cultural impact and ecological importance as well as those oyster folk who work so hard to protect them.
Part travelogue, part social history, Oyster Isles is a celebration of the much-loved yet much-misunderstood oyster.
A celebratory tour T shirt of the 5000 mile motorcycle journey that was undertaken by Bobby to create the book Oyster Isles.
Proceeds from the merchandise will go towards the Fisherman's Mission charity which provides care and welfare to those of the fishing industry.
What an amazing tome, I didn’t realise it was going to be so complete. The stories behind each oyster and location are informative, in depth, but most importantly fun. I shall never eat an oyster again in the same way, the knowledge impaired from Oyster Isles will definitely enhance the eating. It’s a joy.
A masterpiece of oyster information. It is so interesting to read so much about oyster lore on the other side of the world. Being here in America, I tend to forget how many oysters are out there in other places, especially in UK and Ireland. Thank you, Bobby, for bringing this world of joy to me and all the rest of America.
Bobby's oyster travelogue is an ambitious, one-of-a-kind piece that is shines a spotlight on the extraordinary and everyday of the industry. It's the stuff that oyster bucket lists are made of.
MICHEL ROUX JR,
GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR
IN A HALF SHELL