California chefs serve up banned foie gras

By Efrosini Costa

California chefs serve up banned foie gras
California chefs are practicing culinary civil disobedience by serving banned foie gras to patrons - for free.

The production and sale of foie gras may be banned in the region, but that hasn’t stopped some restaurateurs in San Francisco from serving up the controversial pate.

On the two-year anniversary of California’s foie gras ban, one Napa Valley restaurant will serve the culinary delicacy to a handful of selected patrons – for free.

Foie gras is prized for its smooth texture and rich flavour, but animal rights groups have condemned the dish because of the centuries-old method by which it is produced.

They say the pate dish, which is made from the enlarged liver of a force-fed goose or duck, is inhumane. California’s state legislature agreed, banning the sale of foie gras  in 2012.

But a handful of chefs have found a way to bypass the ban – give away plates of foie gras to patrons instead of selling it. That’s because Califonia law does not prohibit transportation of foie gras into the state – it also remain readily available from producers across the US and in Canada.

Ken Frank, executive chef of La Toque in Napa Valley has been serving up this act of ‘culinary civil disobedience’  for some time. Now he is stepping it up a notch by hosting a free foie gras lunch, aptly titled “The State of Foie Gras” at his restaurant.

Interested diners have been inited to come forth and profess their love for the culinary dish by submitting a 100-word ode to foie gras on the restaurants’ Facebook page or via email. The theme for submissions? “Why California’s Foie Gras Ban is Foolish”.

Frank will choose the best 25 answers himself, with the winners awarded two seats at the exclusive lunch.

Last year the law was challenged but upheld by a three-judge panel in the US Court of Appeals. Opponents have vowed to continue to fight the law, threatening to take their legal challenge to the US Supreme Court if necessary.


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login