Imagine your wedding guests gathered around the fire, upon which rests a stack of lobsters covered, in the old fashioned way, by a mound of fresh seaweed. They’re snapping pics and enjoying the spectacle. The lobster bake chef checks the eggs tucked into the seaweed to see if the meal is ready – if they’re hard boiled, dinner will be served momentarily.
Nearby butter is melting and the sweet smell of corn, potatoes and onions fills the air. Your wedding guests are all a titter with anticipation as our chef pulls the seaweed off the pile to expose a huge mass of bright red lobsters. Dinner is served!
Because you want to provide the most authentic Maine lobster bake for your wedding festivities, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Tom Caron, the owner of Red Claw Lobster Bakes!
A true Mainer, Tom produces traditional Maine lobster bakes for weddings, rehearsal dinners and other celebrations. He uses the same technique that has been used for centuries, bringing an authentic Maine flare to your wedding reception or rehearsal dinner. Read on to find out what makes Red Claw Lobster Bakes so special and then contact Tom to provide your meal before he’s booked!
Where did you get the idea to start Red Claw Lobster Bakes?
I started it at a local resort with their guests about 11 years ago. We had the lobster coming out of the kitchen already cooked. It was fun, but something just wasn’t right about the delivery. I don’t know about you, but whenever we have family up from Florida they’re always so fascinated by the cooking part of the lobsters bake and watching them turn red. I thought to myself that this should be old school, traditional, outside where some everyone can watch, like it used to be done. It was wildly successful at the resort so I thought, hey you know I could give people the authentic Maine experience and generate an income doing this. From that point on I was inspired to do just that.
How did you learn how to cook authentic Maine lobster bakes?
I was born and raised in Maine by the ocean, and when you live in Maine you have to know how to cook a lobster, it’s a birthright. That being said I also knew a bit about the history of old Maine bakes. Maine lobster bakes have been happening here for centuries. The bakers would fish that morning to catch the lobster, source potatoes and onions and corn from local farms and harvest the seaweed from the nearest shoreline to create these bakes in the rocks off the coast of Maine. Minus the rocks, this is what we do!
Speaking of authentic, what makes Red Claw an authentic lobster bake?
All of the above! We took the old school methods and applied them the same way they did on the beaches and in the rocks throughout the centuries and recreated them in large stainless steel trays, for cleanliness and portability purposes. We still use wood-fire when we can and that adds a true touch of authenticity to the whole process.
What are the pros and cons of offering a lobster bake for a wedding reception?
Because Maine is a destination spot for weddings, one of the big bonuses of what we do is that we provide the signature Maine experience everyone comes from away to have, lobster! We primarily gear towards rehearsal dinners but will do the occasional receptions. Typically rehearsal dinners are more casual events with a fun atmosphere and this is what we do! When I say casual I still mean professional.
Cons would be that lobster bakes are messy so if you are looking for a Class A experience then we suggest a service who takes the pre cooked lobsters out of the cook tent on a platter. We use real seaweed so while some guests love the authenticity others may think the insulating seaweed is unsettling (p.s. you don’t eat it). I’d say the biggest con is when the venue doesn’t let us use fire!
Why is Red Claw Lobster Bakes different than other lobster bake providers?
The method we use is rare to find because it does involve a lot of prep and materials, but it is very fun for that reason! We build our bakes the old fashion way holding onto tradition, in front of the guests so they can be part of this little piece of history and take pictures too!
Not only is the bake itself unique but our staff adds a fun, relaxed, personable atmosphere that can be difficult to find with other vendors. We have local chefs, lobstermen, fisherman, a captain and even a lobster biologist that run bakes and you really can’t beat a team like that.
Are you a full-service caterer? Do you handle rentals, bussing, staffing, etc.?
No, we are a food provider and only serve what is offered on our website. We have a few additional options if someone doesn’t eat shellfish. We do not have rentals available but we can advise you on where to get rentals, if need be. We provide staff to bus tables of all lobster products and clear shell bowls throughout the event. If needed, additional staff is available upon request.
Are you licensed and insured?
I am fully insured and Serve Safe approved!
How far do you travel to provide lobster bakes?
Throughout Midcoast Maine. We have been known to travel further outside of this region for larger parties. Contact me for more details.
What’s one thing your clients always say after you’ve provided your service at their wedding?
Almost always it starts off with a handshake and compliments on the style we present, the set up, overall experience and atmosphere we provide. I have heard things like “you have the sweetest corn I’ve ever tasted” and “My lobster was perfectly cooked!” “The onions fall apart and are sweet and delicious.” “The potatoes are just the right size to dip in butter and eat with your hands.” We also put eggs in the seaweed to time the bake, and this is a fun element that guests always comment and compliment on! I’d have to say though most of my compliments and take aways are about the method and the experience as a whole.
A big thank you to my buddy Tom (who calls me Smiley!) for being a guest on my blog. It was so fun learning about authentic Maine lobster bakes and how unique an experience it is for wedding guests. If you’d like to learn more about him or hire him for your wedding celebration visit www.redclawlobsterbakes.com.