Educating Pirates: How Lobster Sex on NPR Almost Ruined My Cred


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My NPR time came in the mornings when I would arrive at my kitchen and start prepping. I would blast the little black boom box that every kitchen has. I was usually alone and could dork out all I wanted; Morning Edition was a personal favorite. As soon other cooks would arrive, they would complain about my choice in entertainment. I would allow them to change the station, even though it meant I would be forced to listen to the latest obscure band that I was not cool enough to have heard of yet.

I do love the sound of rock and roll in the kitchen. I even have a rule about it: I don’t care what it is as long as everyone is able to hear it. This creates some mojo in the kitchen, and mojo keeps kitchens on the same beat—literally.

Yep, a Lobster Pirate
  • Yep, a lobster pirate

Only once did I demand that the other members of the crew listen to Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s show, The Splendid Table. I figured that I could force this down the throats of the others. I was The Chef after all. So I tuned in listened.

The first guest was a biologist who specialized in the ins-and-outs of lobster reproduction. He began to describe lobster sex as a nasty affair: they shed their skin, little globs of lobster meat vulnerable in the sea. Only during this soft state can they copulate. Lobsters, it turns out, are commonly attacked by predators during this time. Talk about the dangers of unprotected sex.

Five minutes into the lobster sex lecture, I was overruled by a nearly hostile revolt. These crew members were my pirates and I was their captain. I cared for them like any captain would. I would bail them out of jail. I would openly disregard drug problems, anger issues and sociopathic tendencies. I felt like I was the Captain Bligh of the Bounty and them saying I couldn't listen to my radio show anymore was mutiny. But I was embarrassed by that day's topic.

Afterward, I would occasionally try and listen to the show with crew members around. They would stop me every time, referring to my choice as the “Lobster Sex Show.” Mutiny or no, that was enough for me.

Chef Randy King is the Executive Chef at Sysco Food Services of Idaho. He has served as the Executive Chef at several locations in Boise including Richard’s in Hyde Park, Crane Creek Country Club and the Doubletree Riverside Hotel. Randy is a member of the American Culinary Federation and has been awarded the elite status of Certified Executive Chef. He can typically be found behind a stove making a mess…and something delicious to eat.


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