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After July 1st, Will Foie Gras Go Underground?

Ben Lauzier

June 14, 2012


The foie gras Prohibition is coming! San Francisco’s chefs are organizing to try to change the law threatening to ban the food, but they may also have something else up their collective sleeve: secret menus and foie gras speakeasies. So, how might that work?

Foie Gras Ban

After Chicago banned foie gras in 2006 (and before they repealed it in 2008), chefs in the city got creative:

  • Didier Durand led the charge. At his bistro, you could order the $16 roasted potato dish (aka foie gras), while at his dinner club, you could hand over a special turtle business card to request foie gras.
  • Another Chicago restaurant avoided getting busted by offering foie gras as a verbal special only; no word if they ever served it to an undercover food inspector though.
  • Yet another Chicago purveyor listed the item on its menu as “special lobster,” for those in the know.
  • Bin 36 just added a complimentary slice of it to their wild mushroom salad.
  • On the flip side, Hot Doug’s flouted the ban and paid the $250 fine (California’s is $1000). They gained a ton of press for serving foie sausages: foie and Sauternes, topped with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse, and fleur de sel.

How do you think that California’s chefs and foie gras eaters might react? We’ll have to wait and see if they follow Chicago’s lead!



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