September 25, 2007

Philadelphia Chefs for Choice Sponsor "Freedom Foie for Five"

Philadelphia Chefs for Choice

Philadelphia Chefs for Choice invites you to Freedom Foie for Five: a special celebration of foie gras. All next week, the week of October 1, both for lunch and dinner, you will be able to sample this deliciously controversial dish for only $5 at the 20 participating restaurants listed below.

According to the organization's press release, Philadelphia Chefs for Choice is a group of concerned chefs and restaurateurs who stand for freedom of choice—theirs and yours. They have organized as a response to the animal rights movement against foie gras, line caught fish, veal, lobster and eggs.

Here is the mission statement that these 20 chefs and restaurateurs have endorsed:

We, the chefs and restaurateurs of Philadelphia, listed below, believe in the freedom of choice, for ourselves and our clients.

As chefs, we believe in the humane and natural husbandry of animals, and are dedicated to using the highest quality ingredients. As business people, we want to be able to decide what to put on our menus.

We do not believe that a minority of animal rights zealots should determine the direction of our business. Nor do we want to be intimidated by them at our restaurants or homes. We want the City Council to know that these few do not represent the whole of Philadelphia.

In the city of Philadelphia, the birthplace of American liberty, we want to keep the right to serve foie gras.

Bistro 7—Michael H. O’Halloran
Brasserie Perrier—Chris Scarduzio
Caffé Casta Diva—Stephen Vassalluzzo
Caribou Café—Olivier de Saint Martin
Django—Ross Essner
Lacroix at the Rittenhouse—Matt Levin
Le Bec-Fin—Georges Perrier
Little Fish—Mike Stollenwerk
London Grill—Terry McNally
Matyson—Matt Spector
Osteria—Jeff Michaud
Rylei Restaurant—Jose Vargas
Salt and Pepper—Shawn Ford
Standard Tap—Paul Kimport
Studio Kitchen—Shola Olunloyo
Susanna Foo—Susanna Foo
Twenty21—Sue Mahoney
Vetri—Marc Vetri
Vintage—Jason & Delphine Evenchik
Zinc—Barbara de Saint Martin

UPDATE 9/29/07: Bistro 7, Django, Studio Kitchen and Osteria will not be participating in the Foie for Five event. And according to Food and Drinq, Stephen Vassalluzzo at Caffe Casta Diva is on the fence. But add N.3rd to the list of participating restaurants. I just confirmed directly with N. 3rd that Peter Dunmire has jumped on board and will be participating in the Foie for Five event.

More after the jump.

Matyson's Seared D'Artagnan Foie Gras

The list above consists of restaurants that have actually chosen a side in this debate. The list of restaurants Hugs for Puppies ("HFP") cites, by contrast, consists mostly of restaurants it bullied. In other words, pulling foie gras off the menu doesn’t necessarily mean the restaurant believes it’s cruel. Instead, it likely means that they’re just sick of the harassment. Do you seriously believe that David Ansill had some sort of epiphany and now believes foie gras is cruel? It's also interesting to note that HFP takes credit for 4 restaurants that closed, even though the closings had nothing to do with foie gras (Restaurant M, Deux Cheminées, Pif and Le Jardin) and all 11 Stephen Starr restaurants, many of which didn't even serve foie gras.

Moreover, the list of above reflects a completely different type and degree of commitment than most of the people or businesses who sign petitions opposing foie gras. The folks above have something at stake. As HFP proudly continues to prove, there is an inherent risk in serving foie gras in Philadelphia (and, apparently, there's a risk even if you don't serve it). Also, unlike many who oppose foie gras, the individuals above will be directly affected should the proposed ban be passed. Their courage, therefore, should be taken seriously.


Dan said...

Great post and thanks for writing about this. As a former Philly resident and a lover of all things food, this sort of insane bullying really frightens me. I'm all for free speech, but an extreme is an extreme and to protest at somebody's home or leaflet their neighborhood in an attempt to damage their livelihood sickens me. It's a shame, not to mention their apparent disregard for the facts.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm going to have some. Maybe even at a couple of places. Thanks for letting us know about this.

I had some a couple of nights ago in Denver at The Arms restaurant in The Brown Palace Hotel. Yum. It was paired with scallops on melon.


P.S. Why not Haloscan comments? They work really well on Blogger and I think you get a lot more comments that way...make it easy for people.

Anonymous said...

Bullying and threats are not an effective way to educate people against inhumane treatment of animals that end up becoming our food. That said, if you are going to eat foie gras, you should know how it is produced. As with all food, how can you truly appreciate something you consume until you know more about what goes into making it? So really, why turn a blind eye to it? Are you that scared that you'll feel bad and wake up your conscience finally??