Wolfgang Puck Sends Letter to California Restaurants Still Serving Foie Gras

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​Earlier this month, Wolfgang Puck, perhaps California's most famous chef, wrote a letter urging fellow restauranteurs to embrace the impending ban on foie gras.

In 2004, S.B. 1520 was signed into effect, giving California eight whole years to figure out a more humane alternative to current methods. However, in all that time, nobody could come up with a way to make industrialized force feeding gentle, and so now the dish will officially be banned this July 2012.

There's been some backlash, as restauranteurs don't like being told what they can and cannot serve. It appears Puck's letter is meant to help them let go of the anger and embrace a more compassionate future. We got our hot little hands on a copy of it, and, of course, we had to share it with you.

In the letter, dated February 10, 2012, Puck writes, "As a chef, a businessman, and someone who cares about the humane treatment of animals, I'm writing to let you know why I support this particular law, and why I hope you'll give it your full support, as well."

He continues:

And here in California, our own customers understand the need for all animals, including those raised for food, to be treated humanely. California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 2 in 2008, with nearly two-thirds of voters supporting an end to extreme confinement of farm animals. We chefs have the ability to create delicious and original dishes our customers will love without causing torment to animals.

Of course, Puck still serves all other kinds of animals on his menus. He's included in a wave of restauranteurs who participate in "Meatless Monday" and is clearly thoughtful about where his food comes from, which is distinctly California. And, more specifically, San Francisco. After all, we already have an delicious animal-friendly foie gras on the market. Perhaps Puck will soon be serving that?

The letter in its entirety, for those who enjoy reading:

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Also, SF Weekly food critic Jonathan Kauffman is writing up the restaurants still serving foie gras in San Francisco.

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Julie Trevino
Julie Trevino

He just lost all credibility in my eyes. First, because he's simply wrong. Second, but I just don't believe that he even believes what he's preaching. 

Dustpan
Dustpan

Wolfgang Puck is awesome for advocating for factory farm animals and adjusting his business practices to financially support more humane treatment of animals. 

Joe
Joe

Then you haven't read the series of comments. Apparently, awesome Puck has a public image and a private one. The private one's where he serves foie gras two ways in private dinners for dignitaries. 

Sally78
Sally78

  Are you single?Do you want to make friends?Or do you want to find true love? you answer must be yes!please pay attention to---- [TallLoving.c./0/m]

Bacchus
Bacchus

I think Californians are hypocrites. As a chef working in Berzerkely CA, I am stunned that people are up in arms about this issue YET there are still Taco Bell's, McDonald's and that horrendous factory farm food KFC in business. No one is out front trying to stop them from using products produced from companies who's main goal is not humane animal husbandry but large masses of product produced in any way they deem fit. You don't have to be a scientist to realize how they treat their animals before slaughter. Go to Youtube and spend 5 minutes and see. Stop the deflecting protests and do the right thing. If you want to ban a single product, ban all of them that are produced inhumanely. Crazy huh?

DeaforGlory
DeaforGlory

It's a fairly easy line to draw .....Either you care about the welfare of the birds enough to not eat it - OR - You don't really care that much , at least not enough to stop eating it. All the talk of humane farms etc is just nonsense. Same goes for Veal and a bunch of other foodstuffs. Kittens braised in puppy tears probably tastes great , if it doesn't bother your conscience to eat it....

Esme
Esme

I don't think its overblown. Humanity has always been famed for its ability to oppress and brutalise the defenceless. If they can have brothels that offer children to clients, I have no illusions about what is done to animals.

Julie Trevino
Julie Trevino

That's bullcrap, and a childish good vs evil interpretation of the issue. Many people do care about animal welfare, but come to the conclusion that the "torture" that animal rights activists say that the birds go through is really overblown. 

Robert Marc DeArcos
Robert Marc DeArcos

I want my Foie Gras!!!!

SFG
SFG

Don't worry -- this idiotic ban is only likely to increase interest in, and consumption of, foie in California.  The law only bans sale and production; it does not ban importation, nor does it ban giving it away for free.  So there will be plenty of avenues and opportunities for enjoying foie, even after July 2012. 

Ddentonca
Ddentonca

This is such a hypocritical crock of Scheiß! Puck routinely shucks oysters and scallops in what amounts to vivisection -- however tasty -- of invertebrates. So, the issue with cruelty only exists with "higher animals" and the prospect of forced-fed detonating geese?

Joshua Willis
Joshua Willis

Because a man who has whored his name out to canned soup sold at Wal-Mart really has a ton of culinary credibility left...

SFG
SFG

So true.  Not to the mention the fact that Puck apparently served up a gourmet meal in DC in June 2010 prominently featuring -- yep, you guessed it -- foie gras.  Just another worthless lying hypocrite, like the vast majority of anti-foie nutjobs.

stat is fact...
stat is fact...

Organ harvesting of federal prisoners can feed the hungry and reduce the debt. Meat them half way. Take a bite out of tender, youthful criminals.

Canard
Canard

"Wolfie" as we like to call him, should get off his high horse and let people decide what/what not to eat i.e. - foie gras, shark fin soup or frog legs for that matter.

People should not govern what other people like to eat, especially fast food or anything delicious.  Just mind your OWN BUSINESS !

Ryan
Ryan

If you feel strongly about the cruelty of Foie Gras, then don't eat it. Better yet, plead with other people not to eat/serve it (as Wolfgang is). However, I don't like that this is being forced on everyone through legislation, and it's actually an offensive abuse of government.

OceanGrownKush
OceanGrownKush

Yes, because pleading with the scum that eat it has worked spectacularly so far, right?

Julie Trevino
Julie Trevino

Scum are people who dictate morality to others to serve their self-righteous goals and who likely scream "torture!" at every single person eating a burger. Understand? 

OceanGrownKush
OceanGrownKush

Without the "self-righteous", Einstein,  you wouldn't be able to vote, have a job in the traditional workplace, etc. I suppose pedophiles aren't scum either, or am I just being self-righteous in that respect too? I'm not a vegetarian, however, supporting the torture of animals so that you can enjoy some food makes you scum. It really isn't up for debate. Your problem is that you just can't handle what it says about you.

Joe
Joe

@OceanGrownKush:disqus  ... we ban very few things in this society. We also live with differences of opinion.If your pleas do not convert everyone, then perhaps it's because of your attitude, the same attitude that calls everyone who disagrees with you, "scum."

OceanGrownKush
OceanGrownKush

You support the torture of animals, then you're scum. There really isn't a debate. Understand?

SFG
SFG

Oh, I take being called "scum" by a true scum like OceanGrownKush to be a point of pride!  Perhaps I'll prepare some delicious foie to celebrate, poached in Gewurtztraminer, rolled into a torchon, and sprinkled with a little pink salt and long pepper -- served alongside some toasted, buttery brioche and a chilled glass of Sauternes.  Spectacular -- I can hardly wait.

The California law only bans sale and production -- it does not ban importation, and it does not ban giving away the foie for free.  Thus, many chefs have already identified ways to work around the law, and I will certainly be supporting them in that regard.  It's my most sincere hope that overall foie consumption in the state will go UP after the ban.

SFG
SFG

Big words from a moronic douchebag scum, OceanGrownKush.  Has your mommy approved your latest post? 

OceanGrownKush
OceanGrownKush

You're nothing but an impotent coward in life. Get lost now, punk.

SFG
SFG

Good one, OceanGrownKush. What are you, in fifth grade?  Does your mommy know that you're on the computer so late at night?

OceanGrownKush
OceanGrownKush

How about I do it to your mother, then your sister....and then you? Talk about painful, tough guy.

Ryan
Ryan

You can never convince one-hundred percent of the population, nor do you need to. The only time legislation should be involved is when the population stands to benefit. 

By banning Foie Gras, those who choose not to eat it stand to gain nothing, while those who do have now lost something. 

OceanGrownKush
OceanGrownKush

Talk about completely missing the point. (rolls eyes)

Wilderkj
Wilderkj

Outlaw grain fed beef if you want to end animal cruelty. 

matty
matty

Its corn that causes all the problem for beef. Not grain!!!!Cows cant digest corn, which cause stomach problems. Then they are pumped full of antibiotics.

Bacchus
Bacchus

It's actually both Matty. Grasses are the only thing they are supposed to eat. 

informed chef
informed chef

Wolfie took the foie off the menu because PETA threatened to expose and exploit a massive Salmonella outbreak at Spago - he's afraid of them because he has so much to lose.

Duvozh L
Duvozh L

No one ever seems to comment on the ultimate philosophical nonsense that is "cruelty free", as the animal is still killed, against its will. This is just a panacea for humans.  Do the animals volunteer to die in order to wind up on your dinner plate? Killing is the ultimate cruelty - so if you are that concerned about cruelty to animals, become a vegetarian.  Do you approve of killing children?  Do you eat lamb and/or veal? I'm all for treating animals humanely, and letting them live cruelty-free, non-caged existences, but don't kid yourself into thinking that their lives are cruelty free.  Ever seen an animal killed in order to feed people?  I have - several times seen a goat's throat slit, and no amount of kind living could make up for the fear in the animal's eyes.

 Foie gras will still be available, you will just have to find it underground in secret clubs, or from men wearing big overcoats ("Pssst..., hey buddy, I can get you some foi ...").

Joe
Joe

"Do you approve of killing children?"

I'm guessing you're anti-abortion ... and anti-death penalty.

MarcuswelbyMD
MarcuswelbyMD

Moral staure my ass. He wanted to keep serving foie but was afraid of the adverse commercial affect on his empire. what a load of crap.

Calie Mcmahan
Calie Mcmahan

Certified humane... -___-... I love those words together. It just makes soooooo much "sense". About as much sense as "certified free-range" and "certified cage-free". No one regulates these claims and ANYONE can claim them.

I don't think humane when what I use to eat had to be slaughtered. Slaughter is just a fancy word for murder.

Jingbo
Jingbo

I would like to see that all the restaurants abandon Veil as well !!!

Joe
Joe

Be careful what you wish for.

Over 99.9% of the pesticides we consume come from vegetables because they naturally occur in vegetables. (You can check with the biochemistry department at UC Berkeley.) Vegetable farming has irreversibly destroyed more natural habitats and ecosystems than probably anything else in human civilization.

Are you gonna get mad at veggies now?

MarileeBob
MarileeBob

You don't want people wearing veils whle eating or working in restaurants?

Guest
Guest

What the Puck?

http://www.politico.com/playbo... WOLFGANG PUCK is in town from Beverly Hills to cook for YOUSEF AL OTAIBA, ambassador from the United Arab Emirates, where more U.S. Navy ships are ported than any other foreign country. The ambassador (who was G’town classmates with Norah O’Donnell and knows the Morrells) hosted 14 young Washingtonians for dinner and convo at his McLean home, followed by Game 7 (and a life-size Kobe) on his 103-inch TV screen. What Puck whipped up: 1) terrine of foie gras with toasted brioche, seared foie gras with cherry chutney, and mousse on apricot tartlet (Riesling, Hirtzberger, “Singerriedel,” Austria 2004); 2) seared wild salmon with cucumber raita and sweet pea puree (Chardonnay, Littorai, “Mays Canyon,” California 2006); 3) risotto with porcini mushrooms (pinot noir, Clos De Tart, “Grand Cru,” Burgundy 1995); 4) veal Milanese (Barolo, Oddero, Italy 2000); 5) slow braised Kobe short ribs and grilled Kobe New York (cabernet sauvignon, Beaulieu Vineyard, “Georges de Latour,” Napa 2001); 6) strawberry shortcake, chocolate raspberry soufflé and peach cobbler (Grüner Veltliner Eiswein, Anton Bauer, Austria). GUESTS INCLUDED Bill Burton, Laura Burton Capps, Helene Cooper, Josh Earnest, Betsy Fischer, Jonathan Karl, Ryan Lizza, Norah O’Donnell, Rep. Aaron Schock, Jamal Simmons, Jim VandeHei, Natalie Wyeth and Jessica Yellin.

Bacchus
Bacchus

what a fucking hypocrite this guy is. Jesus, nice deflection Wolfy! Egads..

SFG
SFG

OceanGrownKush -- try to marshall all of your brain cells and follow along with what the OP posted.  It's a story from Politico from June 2010 reporting on a dinner that Wolfgang Puck cooked, and the first item on the menu includes BOTH a terrine of foie gras AND a seared foie gras.  Thus proving that Puck is full of it, just like the rest of the anti-foie nutjobs.

Food Smith
Food Smith

The word is "restaurateur".  There is no "n" in the word.

Alva
Alva

The geese come running when its gavage time.  Now veal is another story but you'll never see a ban on that.

Nessabfly
Nessabfly

I'd pay money to see these same lawmakers challenge the cattle industry.  Oh, the good ol' US of A and its love for hypocrisy.  

Urpersonaljeus
Urpersonaljeus

Here, catch.... throw the first stone.

Nessabfly
Nessabfly

I have 5% of the information I'd need to even contemplate starting that argument...complicated, convoluted, corrupt, multi-layered...but what little I do know is pretty mind-blowing.

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