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Archive for June, 2012

Such a great Beatles lyric” isn’t it good”?  I am refrencing Foie gras though the song “Norwegian Wood” has had it moments. It’s not only one of the best songs ever, it’s a wonderful book, Norwegian Wood, a 1987 novel by Haruki Murakami. Worth the read if you can find it! Ask nicely and I will happily loan you my copy, if you can read Japanese that is.

Sorry, I digress, as is my want,  so back to the bird. All this flapping going on about the inhumane treatment of ducks. This is very relevant in California right now, as you have only 2 days left to get your “foie” on. As of July 1st, kaput, nada, zip, forget it. It will be illegal to sell it. Though you still could buy it outside of California and serve it for free.  Give away a lovely torchon of foie gras, a crispy baguette, some apple calvados gelee. Nirvana. Just make sure to offer it with a glass of Tattinger, and be sure to charge $150 for the “tasting”. I would gladly get in that line.

The controversy being its inhumane to force feed ducks or geese. To fatten their livers. Stick a tube down their throats and feed them to the limit. Thusly enlarging their liver. Creating a delicacy craved by many. Though these band-standers who are doing all the hawking, flapping about this, don’t mention that ducks & geese have no gag reflex. None. It doesn’t hurt them. Now I have a few men friends who would be happy if their women didnt have that problem! LOL. JK..I have been reading 50 Shades of Grey, quite simply the worst penned load of shite on the planet. Seriously. But like a stupid duck most dont know any better. Never will.

This ridiculous ban actually started in 2003! One of the first chefs to feel its wrath was Laurent Manrique, whose home, business & car were targeted by animal rights activist, spray painting his home, tossing acid on his car, and flooding his new venture, “Sonoma Sauveur”. Incuring a loss of over $50,000.

This was downright terrorism, by Americans, on American soil, to an honest hard-working, upstanding chef. What a travesty. These “American” animal rights activist should be ashamed of themselves. Please, don’t these people have something better to do than get their knickers in a twist over one of the stupidest animals on the planet? We eat them. Whats next? No Eggs? No fried chicken? Where will it end? To ban burgers because cows aren’t happy? They cant roam freely? Cant take a nap when they want? Make burgers illegal? If that’s so, most of the restaurants in Los Angeles will lose 80% of their revenue.

I find this whole nonsense exactly that, nonsense. As for the powers that be, one can only hope this bullshit ban comes to an end. We are chefs, we are artists, our palate is food, whether its mooing, squawking, swimming, growing in the field, it all eventually comes together to create a great dish that ends up on your plate. We create. Cook. Present. Then one eats. Enjoys. Savours. Find a wow factor, and looks forward to the next meal that makes your mouth, tummy, psyche, mind go wow! I want to do that again. Now.

By depriving chefs of the ability to use foie gras is like taking the paint away from Leonardo Davincini, a piano from Beethoven, the film rights from Hitchcock, the pen from Ayn Rand. The music from Bernard Herrman. You get the jist. We are not floating in a lifeboat here, this is reality.

I am also ashamed of some of the high-end chefs in LA who support this ban, yet in the past have highlighted foie gras on their menus. Hippocrates. I will boycott your restaurants. You know who you are. Some have empires here in LA, others, little guys. Doesnt matter. You once highlighted foie, yet now you run as scared children. Shame on you.

Tomorrow it could be caviar, the eggs of a sturgeon,(omg, your eating an unborn baby), diver scallops, Kobe beef, black truffles (the pigs used to hunt them out) all food comes from a live source. So duck, duck goose. Put up a fight if you are a chef, or even just a gourmand who loves foie gras. Fight for your rights! Cue the Beastie Boys here, only not to party, but to eat and enjoy what you like.

You can still get your foie on tomorrow, Monsieur Marcel in the Grove sells it by the pound (über expensive, but worth it). Bouchon sells a terrine in the Bouchon Bakery in a lovely glass jar, $75, but hey, you’re not going to get it ever again! Plus you get to keep the cute glass jar. Dont know if its still on the menu, but HavenGastroPub in Pasadena has the most amazing Foie Gras Cheesecake.

It just might be the singular most wonderful delight I have ever put in my mouth.Thank you to Chef Greg Daniels and pastry chef Santanna Salas.

After Saturday one can hope these chefs will continue to make terrines, parfaits, cheesecakes, delicate bites, only using chicken livers. While we wait for this completely inane rule to be overturned. Til then D’Artagnan gourmet foods can hopefully help supply one with the luscious delicacy we are so unfairly be deprived of. http://www.dartagnan.com. You can buy it and have it shipped to California, but you cannot sell it.

Until then, source, travel, enjoy, order out of state, and if one of your favourite restaurants is having a “secret foie tasting” support them, no matter the cost. You will get it back in spades..or terrines, or parfaits.

I will never give up on foie even though I am moving back to CT / NYC..its  the heart beat of many a chef. Keep  it thumping.

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To Live, Love & Leave LA

To Live, Love & Leave LA

Oh LA, how I do love you. This has been one of the best years of my life. Meeting amazing people, cooking for celebrities, lunches at Spago, concerts at the El Rey, Avalon, Wiltern, Music Box, Staples Center, most with VIP passes. Awesome stuff. TV tapings, Two Broke Girls, Jeopardy, Craig Ferguson, Conan!! Seeing Chicago with Christie Brinkley at the Pantages, Elaine Page in Follies at the Ahmanson. and the Broadway production of Green Days American Idiot ( it was passable). But Broadway its not and concerts lack a certain “bonding” (more…)

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