Foie gras exploded back onto the California culinary scene Wednesday after a judge lifted a statewide ban on the French delicacy.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled that a 2004 California ban, on the fatty duck or goose liver, clashes with an existing federal law that regulates poultry products.
The three plaintiffs in the case—Canada's Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec, New York's Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Los Angeles-based Hot's Restaurant Group— filed suit the day after the ban took effect in 2012.
Since then, restaurants across the state have been illicitly stashing and serving foie gras.
Chefs liken the ban to Prohibition and “duckeasies” popped up to satisfy foodies’ demand. By offering it free as a gift from the kitchen, restaurants weren’t “selling” foie gras or violating the ban.
Last night chefs rejoiced on Twitter. In a tweet, Chef David Bazirgan of San Francisco’s Dirty Habit said: “CALI FOIE BAN OVERTURNED . GOOD THING I ALWAYS HAVE IT ANYWAY!!! We have lots of FOIE gras for tonight…”
Bazirgan created a four-course foie gras tasting menu that sold out within a few hours. “We were slammed and the chef sold out but we’re doing it again tonight,” said Jamie Law, public relations manager for Dirty Habit.
“A line will be drawn in the sand outside any restaurant that goes back to serving this 'torture in a tin,' and whoever crosses that line identifies themselves with gluttony that cannot control itself even to the point of torturing animals,” said Newkirk.