Rare ‘Cotton Candy’ Lobster Saved from the Dinner Plate and Returned to the Ocean
"It was just too interesting to cook it," the chef said
Lobsters are already pretty damn expensive. So if you come across one that’s billed as a 1-in-100-million catch, you can make the case that such a rare crustacean is essentially priceless. That was the sentiment of a chef in Portland, Maine, who after receiving an extremely uncommon “cotton candy” colored lobster in a shipment decided the right thing to do was to release the sea creature back into the wild.
According to the Portland Press Herald, a 1.5-pound lobster featuring a range of shades from light blue and turquoise to flourishes of pink and peach (aka “cotton candy) ended up at the city’s Scales Restaurant as part of any otherwise normal shipment last Friday. The eye-catching animal immediately grabbed the attention of Executive Chef Fred Eliot and Chef Travis Olson, who nicknamed the lobster Blue Betty.
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As the restaurant posted on its Facebook page, they believe the odds of catching one of these “extremely rare” lobsters is about 1 in 100 million, though that figure isn’t confirmed. Regardless, Betty was special. “It was just too interesting to cook it,” Eliot was quoted as saying. “It was almost translucent.”
At first, the chefs gave Betty a home in their dining room lobster tank, but she turned out to be extremely aggressive. “She was pretty feisty,” Eliot said. “Some people started calling her bubbles because she was foaming at the mouth.” (Previous theories have suggested that these brightly colored lobsters have to be more aggressive to survive because they are so easy to spot in the wild.) So instead, Olson and his wife Anne reportedly took Betty out on their homemade rowboat on Tuesday and released her in Casco Bay near Cow Island.
Though lobsters with these sorts of strange colorings are extremely rare, thanks to social media, news of their capture travels quickly, and we’ve been hearing more and more about the different shades lobsters can take. This past December, another cotton candy lobster was caught off Grand Manan Island, a Canadian island due east of Maine. Beyond cotton candy, we’ve also seen snapshots of blue lobsters, yellow lobsters, and even split-color lobsters. In general, these animals tend to be saved as well and often get earmarked for aquariums or similarly safe homes.