Foie Gras: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Chef Thomas Keller Says “Eat” Amidst Protesting

Posted by on May 15

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Sometimes, it's not just about how the food tastes when you order it off the menu. Sometimes, it's about satiating the conscience as well. Or that's what foie gras protesters would have us believe.

Renowned chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Bouchon, and Per Se got a wake-up call from APRL protesters marching outside his restaurants to complain against his adamant use of foie gras on the menus. The group from the Animal Protection and Rescue League had finished protests at Momofuku and Telepan before deciding to take things to the next level.

The APRL is protesting the sale and production of foie gras due to the means in which the product is procured. This delicacy is made from goose liver that has been manually fattened by farmers, especially during the last weeks of the goose's life. According to APRL attorney and chairman Bryan Pease, "the whole point of the production method is to create this diseased liver, which is unlike any other form of animal agriculture where you're not just growing animals to be eating, but you're also torturing the animal to grossly enlarge its organs for consumption."

However, some who are educated in the culinary world beg to differ. Food and travel expert Anthony Bourdain believes that foie gras is "one of the ten most important flavors in gastronomy." And Ariane Daguin, CEO of gourmet food distributor D'Artagan, says, "It's one of the best foods in the world for a couple of reasons, and I think it's because it has this very unique trait, which is that it is on one side extremely rich, but on the other extremely delicate."

So is there a win-win solution for the parties involved? Maybe.

Recently, New York chef Dan Barber has been experimenting with "free-range" foie gras -- selecting geese that are allowed to eat and roam freely in natural farm habitats. He says he was inspired to do so through the work of Spanish foie gras producer Eduardo Sousa.

Yet Daguin isn't as optimistic, saying that "there cannot be an agreement because for vegetarian activists, no farm is a good farm. They don't want us to eat meat period. So eventually, if they were to succeed, once somebody is out of the picture, the next one will be the chicken farm down the road. There is no 'good' farm for activists."

Source: CNN

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