Vincent Man Kong-ming of Cafe Deco has been shucking oysters for 13 years and admits being partial to fines de claire, when the French oysters are in season. He says Australian oysters are good at the moment and offers some advice on shucking them.
It seems too obvious to say, but a sharp, pointy knife and a wet, slippery object are more a recipe for an accident than a delicious seafood starter.
However, if you have steady hands and lots of confidence, then shucking your own oysters can be done easily and safely.
Man recommends wrapping the bottom half of the oyster in a thick towel or cloth. The cloth gives not only grip, but also a layer of protection from the knife. You do need to see the top of the oyster clearly, so there's no point in wrapping the entire shellfish.
Make sure the hinge, a muscle joining the two parts of the shell together, is closest to you. Pry a small hole there using a small knife with a pointed blade so you can see the muscle before you slit it in two.
Run the blade of the knife around to the right, tilted upwards. This will separate the upper shell from the lower one.
You can now clean any small bits of shell or grit from the oyster with the knife blade and separate it from the lower portion of the shell. Repeat for maximum enjoyment.