WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1: An east end family has been selling food to hungry Cup Match patrons for more than 50 years.
St David’s Seafood began decades ago by Arthur and Evelyn Pitcher, and their children and grandchildren have kept the tradition alive.
Their stall is known for shark hash, freshly fried fish, conch fritters, mussel pies and so much more.
McLaren Lowe is charge of the stall and says it’s rewarding to see people happily eating the food his family works so hard to prepare every year.
He calls it a “family operation” and took over after his father, Rev Wilbur Lowe died three years ago.
“The stall started out with my maternal grandparents years ago before I was thought of.
“Then obviously my mama and daddy got into it helping them. When I came around, I got into it.
“I have been around the stall ever since I could crawl.”
He continued: “It’s been in operation for over 50 years, that’s over three generations and it’s always been called St David’s Seafood.”
As for the famous shark hash, Mr Lowe says his family’s is the best.
“It’s a family recipe and I’m not giving up that secret”, he said with a laugh.,There’s no shortcuts when it comes to the shark.
“You have fresh home grown parsley and fresh herbs. When Cup Match comes around, we go fishing at night for sharks about a month in advance.”
He said the sharks they use are called Puppy sharks.
“The main thing when you’re looking for a good shark is a good white liver. The whiter the liver, the more oil you can get out of it which really enhances the flavour.
“The whiter the liver, the cleaner the oil you get. You fry the liver to get the oil.”
Asked to describe the taste, Mr Lowe said: “It would say it’s indescribable. I really can’t put anything next to it. There’s no other delicacy like it. I can’t compare anything to it.”
He continued: “A lot of people like it with pumpkin and rice.
“Some people have minced onion over it. I serve it by itself but if they want, they can have it with rice.”
Mr Lowe said the only place he knows that serves shark hash outside of Cup Match is Black Horse in St David’s.
“I don’t want to brag, but I think we have the best”, he added.
The St David’s resident caught five sharks for this year’s hash.
One was 150 pounds and the others were much smaller.
“When it boils down, you may only have 75 pounds of the actual hash. I try to get 150 actual orders of it. Sharks are very hard to come by and it’s a pretty labour intensive process.”
He continued: “The shark has to be boiled for a couple of hours and it has to be squeezed. All the cartilage and skin has to be picked out them you must squeeze all the water out of it and that’s what gives you the hash. It takes three or four hours of preparation for the quantity that I’m doing.”
Mr Lowe said although it’s a family operation, he is the one who makes sure everything gets done, from ordering the food to the equipment.
“I get help from my uncles, Arthur and Oliver Pitcher and brothers Jonathan and Jason in building the stall and moving the equipment.
“So it’s really a complete family operation with extended family and all getting involved.”
As for the highs and lows of the job, Mr Lowe said: “The highs are the actual day of getting the rush and serving the people, providing a good product.
“Seeing the smiles on their faces when they eat the fish and say it’s fresh and hot. When they get their conch stew. Just pleasing the people.”
He continued: “It’s a challenge and it’s a big accomplishment when it’s over and done. We are serving 5,000 people. It’s a big undertaking but it’s gratifying knowing that you pulled it off at such a large scale.”
The St David’s Seafood stall is located at the southeast corner of the cricket field near the Crown and Anchor table. It is the only stall with a pitched roof.