Charleston native Isabella Macbeth has shucked more than 3,000,000 oysters, but she remains steadfast on her personal quest to be a knowledgeable champion of oysters, farmers, and oceans. “I love helping guide people into their journey with oysters,” she says. “My life’s passion is exemplifying what a maven is: an expert, a guide, and a teacher.”
At Nico Oysters + Seafood in Mount Pleasant, Macbeth is indeed that teacher. “I am very lucky that I have served many people their first oyster.” She focuses on asking the right questions and listening carefully to each guest. “I never recommend the same oyster to every person. I ask if they’re a sweet or savory person - that one question can completely change their first impression of oysters.”
Oysters and her love for them have taken Macbeth on figurative and literal journeys around the world. “When I eat oysters from different places, I get a sense that I’m visiting there,” she says. “Shucking oysters has taken me to parts of the world I never thought I’d see,” she reflects. “I get to connect with farms and shuckers around the globe, which brings me joy.”
Macbeth competes in at least six national shucking competitions each year, her favorite being the Wellfleet Oyster Festival in Massachusetts. On her bucket list? Cancale in Brittany, France. “The women of Cancale were, for generations, left for months when the men were on long fishing trips,” she explains. “The women managed the town and fed the children by cultivating the wild oysters.”
Until she sets off on that dream trip to Cancale, she’ll be your oyster maven right here, sharing her expertise and passion with the lucky guests at Nico.