California Foie Gras Ban Nears, Demand Reaches All-Time High

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foie gras

Pan seared artisan foie gras with espresso sauce accompanied with artichoke and Japanese sweet potato puree, Keiko à Nob Hill Executive Chef Keiko Takahashi’s signature dish in 2012. (Connie Kim/KCBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – California’s ban on foie gras takes effect on July 1, which has led to a feeding frenzy among goose liver lovers.

The deadline has some of California’s top chefs, who have been fighting the ban, seemingly resigned to losing one of their favorite foods.

The law was enacted more than seven years ago, but it gave the state’s only foie gras producer, Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras, all those years to come up with a more humane way to make the delicacy. It wasn’t able to, so more than a hundred renowned chefs from around the state have been petitioning Sacramento legislators to reconsider the ban.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

The last-ditch effort has not worked either, to the dismay of one of those chefs, Gerald Hirigoyen, chef and owner of Piperade in San Francisco.

“I’ve been having foie gras since I was a child and I’m about to let go,” he said. “It’s really sad that we have to go through this. Growing up as a little child, my uncle had a farm. I used to do the operation of massaging the neck of the duck.”

It’s an operation that Paul Shapiro with the Humane Society of the United States calls cruel and inhumane.

“Force-feeding ducks for the purpose of swelling their livers 10 times their normal size is cruel, it’s inhumane and Californians were right to ban it,” said Shapiro.

Some chefs around San Francisco are offering special foie gras tasting menus and others are running underground dinners, with their customers gorging themselves on the delicacy while they still can.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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