Do What You Love--Knuckle & Claw

knuckle claw3When Chloe was three, we lived on Martha’s Vineyard. She was an unusual three year old. She didn’t like pink, or dolls but her most unusual quality at that tender age, was her love of lobster.

Every summer, our friends from Chicago, rented the home next to ours for the month of July. We had celebrated their return this particular year with a big lobster feast – This is when, to my knowledge, Chloe tasted her first lobster and the love affair began.

The following morning, I heard our friends next door calling over the fence, “Chloe’s here.”

It was about 7am! I rushed through the gap in the garden to find Chloe, still in her pajamas, sitting on the back porch steps, expertly devouring a whole lobster that had been left over from the night before. She wasn’t interested in anything or anyone, except the massive coruscation as big as her arm that she was pulling apart and devouring.

The conversation went something like this…

“What are you doing, Chloe?”
“Eating lobster.”
“Where did you get it?”
“From Jack’s fridge.”
“Are you going to eat the whole thing?”
“Would you like some toast?”

And that was that.

knuckle claw4From then on, whenever we went out to eat, she would always order lobster if it was available, sometimes to my great embarrassment, as it is usually the most expensive item on the menu.

Ten years later, when Chloe was in College, she returned to the Vineyard in the summers to work at Edgartown Seafood, where she was famously known as “The Lobster Whisperer”. She could, still can, expertly balance a live lobster on its head and gently stroke it’s belly, until it falls in to a hypnotic state - a technique she recommends before plunging the lobster the pot!

Chloe is now twenty-three, she and her fiancé Nikki have just opened their new business, Knuckle and Claw. The girls have worked tirelessly preparing themselves for their new venture. They have travelled to Maine, voyaging out to sea with lobster fishermen, meeting their source, learning from the best, the difference in taste and technique in the methods of DE shelling, (either by hand or by jet), enabling them to become connoisseurs of the delicate knuckle and claw meat - no tough tails!

They invested in an old pick up truck, which they appropriately named, The Lobster Truck to haul their equipment to Farmer’s Markets around Los Angeles, and today, their dream came true –

knuckleclaw1At 5am, I heard the old 1971 “Lobster Truck” start up in our driveway. I had been awake, unable to sleep, as I knew this was a very big day for us all.

At noon, I met my husband at their new Saturday location at the Beverly Glen Farmers Market, where we had our first lobster rolls from “Knuckle and Claw”. Lobster rolls – simply ice cold lobster claw meat flown overnight from the docks of Maine nestled in a freshly baked and toasted brioche bun, then drizzled with some butter, lemon and Nikki’s “secret” seasoning. Their customers were lining up for more to take home to their husbands!

On Sundays, Chloe, Nikki and the old Lobster Truck will carry their “goods” to the Brentwood Farmers market, and in December they will also open the doors of their restaurant, Knuckle and Claw in Silver Lake, CA.

I have never seen Chloe or Nikki happier than they were today.

I suppose it’s true, “Do what you love and you will do it well.”

Lucy Dahl grew up in England. She is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles with her husband, children, two dogs and pet potbellied pig, Francis Bacon.