The potential first annual Lobster International Festival runs through September.
During September, you can visit five countries without leaving Longboat Key — and while eating lobster.
“We’re excited about this,” Lazy Lobster proprietor Michael Garey said. “The creativity comes out in September and October.”
Garey was inspired this year by the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. The idea was turned over to chef Chris Reed, and he came up with five “passports”: Italy, China, the Bahamas, India and Thailand.
“It was actually pretty difficult for me,” Reed said. “But I was just excited to do flavors and ingredients I don’t usually get to do.”
If Chinese lobster sounds a bit strange, it is. These are not typical lobster dishes from the countries they represent. It’s more about the taste that Reed came up with to represent each culture. Lobster can soak up a lot of flavor, so he said it’s fun to play with the sauce and taste.
Reed said one of his favorite dishes personally and as a chef is General Tso’s chicken, so he played around with the idea. In the end, it still has the same theme with soy sauce and garlic sesame flavor and tastes like a high-end version of your favorite takeout.
“The only difference is the lobster is not chicken,” Reed said.
Originally, there were about a dozen flavors from countries including Vietnam, France and Mexico. Those could come back in later years, Garey said, because he hopes to make this an annual event. One reason they didn’t choose France for this year was because lobster thermidor, a French dish, is already on the menu, and they wanted to focus on flavor profiles that were out of the regular offerings.
“It’s more that these were more interesting,” said Garey.