When we hear about catering services in Montreal (as opposed to an open bar), we’re generally unenthused. We’ve come to expect lukewarm tacos, insubstantial sushi and flavourless miscellany. This habitual disappointment is why we’ve taken a liking to newcomer specialists Choice Harbour, a Montreal catering company founded by Max Ruiz Laing. This week, we had a chance to pick his brain about what sets his biz apart.
A restauranteur without a restaurant, Laing has worked in kitchens since the ripe age of fourteen. From sake-brewing in Vancouver to making wine in New Zealand, this young buck has finally set his gaze on seafood, and rightfully so. Laing harbours a passion for oysters, advocating for Canadian product with unprecedented conviction, tipping his hat to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Truly, he views oysters as unsung patriots.
Choice Habour is suited for events big or small — from 350-person weddings to casual cinq à septs. Laing’s concern is that the oysters are shucked “fast enough and clean enough to hit the quality mark” he aims for. Opening a couple hundred oysters on his own is no sweat, but for a couple thousand he has a team on standby. A scalable operation, you get the same service and the same quality no matter what.
While oysters on their own are as fresh and luxurious as finger food comes, Laing has a favourite way of dressing them. His oyster bar, built from 100% recycled wood, is decked out with mignonette (French for “cracked pepper”) or an inventive concoction of cucumber, ginger, white balsamic and lemon juice. The latter comes with the option of jalapeño for, Laing warns, an extra “kick in the pants.”
Beyond providing a new and exciting take on pop-up cuisine, Choice Harbour claims expertise on more than just shellfish. Laing debunks the age-old question surrounding oysters: aphrodisiac or not?
“Eastern farm-raised oysters contain 215% of your daily zinc… and zinc helps increase testosterone production…” Oysters aren’t a love potion, but they definitely do something to people. Want to know what? Book them for your next event here.