Never one to shy away from attention, Lafitte chef Russell Jackson has been trying mightily to be the most vocal objector to the upcoming statewide ban on foie gras, and last fall he was already getting out in front of the gang of pro-foie chefs with his FU Foie Gras dinners. [Editor’s Note: We’re still pretty sure the FU is directed at the protesters, and the ban, and not foie itself, but that’s just the copy editor in us speaking.] Jackson staged another all-foie dinner last weekend, and now he’s upping the ante after a recent protest at a similar dinner at Oakland’s Bay Wolf caused a stir. Jackson tells the East Bay Express’s Jesse Hirsch that this time, he came to work in a bullet-proof vest, “And I’m armed!” Overkill? Perhaps, but Jackson isn’t going to let this prohibition take effect without making some noise.
Food Gal was there for last weekend’s dinner, and she notes only ten “peaceful protesters,” so the vest may not have been necessary. Jackson, though, says that he’s received “hourly death threats” and these protesters “terrify the living shit” out of him. Be that as it may, we’re pretty sure he was intending to provoke some ire with the above image of the S&M-shackled; duck, taken from a media invite to his October dinner, if not from just the name of the dinner series itself.
While Jackson calls the ban a “nightmare” and a “catastrophe,” we think most other chefs are taking it in stride, and some are probably intending to follow suit with high-end chefs in Chicago during the two years when that city had a foie ban in place (it’s since been rescinded). The chefs, knowing that they weren’t legally allowed to sell foie gras, were just slyly hiding it on their tasting menus and in dishes, offering it as a “gift course” from the kitchen, and otherwise skirting the ban.
Chef Gary Danko said last year that he would comply with the ban if he must, but we’re guessing his regular clientele will expect him do a bit of the above shenanigans, within the law, if he’s able. Meanwhile La Folie chef Roland Passot and L.A. chef Laurent Quenioux are among those who have vowed to protest the ban, and even incur fines if they have to, serving foie until they’re forced not to.
Jackson, meanwhile, will don his bullet-proof vest again and stage his next FU dinner on April 29.
Farewell to Foie Gras [East Bay Express]
Fighting for Foie Gras [Food Gal]
Earlier: Under Pressure From Protesters, S.F.’s Campton Place Nixes Foie Gras
Let Them Eat Foie!