November 17, 2010
Animal rights activists plan to disrupt Providence dinner, foie gras
PLEASE FORWARD TO ALL YOUR US CONTACTS AND ASK THEM TO CIRCULATE THIS WIDELY
LA Times. 15 November 2010.
Animal rights activists plan to march outside Providence restaurant Tuesday
night, protesting a menu at a special fundraising dinner that is slated to
include foie gras. The restaurant is holding a fundraising dinner in honor of
the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation, which selects and supports the American team
that competes in the Bocuse d'Or, the international culinary competition named
after chef Paul Bocuse, and considered the food world's version of the Olympics.
Providence chef Michael Cimarusti is a culinary councilmember of Bocuse d'Or
USA. According to the restaurant's website, the menu for the event -- tickets
cost $150 per person -- will feature several noted L.A. chefs offering their
interpretations of Bocuse's signature dishes.
Among the multi-course menu items: duck stuffed with foie gras. Providence
co-owner and general manager Donato Poto said he was surprised to learn of the
protest, but added that the menu would stand. San Diego attorney and animal
rights activist Bryan Pease issued a press release late Sunday night announcing
that the Animal Protection & Rescue League would protest the appearance of foie
gras on the menu. But there is another target, too: Legendary chef Thomas
Keller. A mentor and champion to American chefs competing in the Bocuse d'Or,
Keller has been the subject of similar protests because he continues to serve
foie gras at his celebrated restaurants. A phone call to Pease's office was not
But the press release outlined activists' concerns about the controversial
process often used to make foie gras. The press release says that other notable
chefs, such as Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter, have sworn off foie gras for
good, and the activists want the rest of the food world to follow. Contacted at
Providence Monday morning, Poto said he hadn't heard of protest plans. "You are
the first person to tell me that.... There's nothing I can do about it, they
have a right to do that," he said of protesters. He added that he had no plans
to change the menu. "Foie gras has been on menus for hundreds of years."
Pease's press released promises that about 50 protesters will be on hand to do
all they can to spoil the appetites of would-be diners. Headlined "Dinner-goers
will have to duck activists crying 'fowl' over force feeding," the press release
says that protesters will display "large graphic banners depicting the torture
of animals they have documented inside 'foie gras' farms."