Eldon Willing prepares oyster feast for watermen

CHANCE — Among the oil cans, ailing rusty diesel engines and one beast of an air compressor in the workshop at Scott’s Cove Marina, mechanic Eldon “Chef Emeril” Willing creates culinary magic.
 
It is “arster day” at the marina that Willing and his uncle, Jack, own and operate.
 
Perhaps once a week, the two host a free, spontaneous luncheon for watermen and workers gathered at the marina. The recent menu featured single-fried oysters and Smith Island cake. He didn’t make the cake, but the oysters, those perfectly fried, light, crispy, crunchy, brown oysters, are making his impromptu tour de force soirées legendary.
 
Just hours before, in another room, Willing wore thick, black, shiny rubber gloves to shuck 3 pints of rough, dark-gray oysters, their shells covered with spats and barnacles. They are the Chesapeake Bay’s version of chicken eggs, putty-colored bivalve yolks nestled in thick, crusty shells.
 
“These oysters came right out of the (Tangier) Sound this morning, as fresh as you can get,” he said.
 
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