Four years ago, Aluxa Lalicker was working as a sea kayak guide in Tomales Bay, when she started bringing oysters along on her trips and serving them to her guests.
The treats were a hit, and lo and behold, a new business was born.
Today Lalicker is part of the Petaluma-based The Oyster Girls, a traveling oyster bar that is injecting femininity into a culinary sub-culture dominated by men.
“People think that oysters are dirty and hard to open, but that’s not true,” says the 30-year-old Lalicker. “It’s all about the technique.”
Lalicker runs the business with her 23-year-old sister Jazmine and their mom, often assisted by a group of girlfriends, serving up the tasty mollusks at Sonoma County wineries, galas, weddings and other events.
Often wearing dresses and high heels, the Lalicker girls ooze sex appeal that’s become part of their brand. (Their business card features a pin-up girl sitting inside an oyster shell.)
But they’re a lot more than just pretty faces.
The Lalickers take the time to travel to local oyster farms (Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Drakes Bay Oyster Company), going out on small motorboats to pick up the product, bring it back to land and spray wash it before taking it to a party.
“We don’t get paid for that part of the job, but we wanted to create that farm to table experience,” says Jazmine Lalicker. “It’s an important part of our business.”
The sisters were born in the Yucatan, to a Mexican father and American mother and later moved to Oklahoma. Then Aluxa (pronounced Alu-sha) came out to California, became a kayaking guide and the love affair with oysters began.
“Oysters are high in zinc, boost your endorphins and make people happy,” says Aluxa, confirming that they are, indeed, an aphrodisiac. They are also good for the environment, because they are filter feeders and clean the water around them without accumulating any toxics.
Two years ago, the Lalicker sisters were featured in the book “Oyster Culture,” where they were recognized for their unique sauces. These include “Sassy Pink”, an oyster sauce made out of horse radish, Meyer lemon and grated beet and the “Classic Mignonette,” consisting of parsley, rice wine vinegar and fresh cut pepper.
To grow their business, the sisters have taken classes at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Small Business Development Center, learning how to promote themselves via social media and network with other entrepreneurs. With business booming, the Oyster Girls are now considering expanding to other parts of California.
“When we show up, people are excited to see us,” says Alusha. “We’re more like the entertainment instead of caterers.”
To learn more about The Oyster Girls, visit theoystergirls.com