Since a statewide ban on the sale and production of foie gras took effect last July, People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA) refuses to rest until ever last morsel of the fattened fowl liver is pressured off of our plates. Last Wednesday, we learned that PETA is threatening to sue Orange County’s Broadway by Santana for serving foie gras as a free supplement to a $55 glass of wine. Today it appears that the animal rights group’s threats are working, as the restaurant is caving in and ending its free foie shenanigans. Ahmed Labbate, a partner to Santana, tells The L.A. Times, “We’re calling it quits…I wish I had the money to fight PETA, but we don’t. We’re a small restaurant and we don’t have the means.” Meanwhile, Noah Blom, the other O.C. chef facing PETA over his attachment to foie gras, is staying strong in the face of continuing and amplified threats.
Blom maintains that certain dedicated customers will continue to be able to get foie at his restaurant, served in a sauce to accompany an off-menu steak dish. This doesn’t mean he isn’t feeling the heat, as both chefs claim they are being bombarded with messages on Facebook, emails, and phone calls from people cursing at them and threatening protests, with Blom having people drive by and shout at his restaurant, which was recently given major accolades in O.C. Register. “We’re dealing with a big backlash from PETA, threatening emails and calls to the staff,” Blom tells the paper. “For the safety of my staff we’re just going to stay silent on the issue.”
While PETA denies calling upon members to threaten the restaurant, the group couldn’t be more thrilled to learn that Santana is caving. “We’re glad these chefs will discontinue illegally giving foie gras away,” Lisa Lange, the L.A. organization’s senior vice president of communications says, despite the fact that it sounds as if they had very few options in the face of PETA’s vocal disapproval.