It’s been two-and-a-half years since California’s ban on selling foie gras went into effect, and now chefs can finally rejoice. A federal judge issued a ruling yesterday declaring it unconstitutional, essentially deeming the ban to be a quack (we couldn't resist). Effective immediately, the state’s shops and restaurants will once again be permitted to sell their customers the rich delicacy (fatty goose liver).
The initial ban — considered a major victory for animal-welfare supporters — sought to end the practice of force-feeding birds to enlarge their livers. It was hotly contested in court by a California restaurant group, as well as a foie producer in New York and a group of Canadian foie farmers. While the legal jargon is somewhat confusing, it’s our understanding that the judge ruled that states cannot interfere with an already-existing law that gives the federal government exclusive powers to determine which ingredients belong in poultry. Long story short: score one for the Cali chefs.
Speaking of these chefs, many took to social media to express their excitement. Los Angeles chef Ludo Lefebvre, of Trois Mec and Petit Trois, posted on Instagram twice last night — posing with store-bought foie gras and writing. “Looks illegal but it’s not! Contraband no more. Get ready for some deliciousness.” SFist published a full list of local places to eat foie gras tonight. Other chefs weighed in on Twitter:
Ken Frank (La Toque, Napa Valley)
— Ken Frank (@ChefKenFrank) January 7, 2015
Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Los Angeles)
It feels a little like December of 1933.
— michael cimarusti (@cimarustila) January 7, 2015
The chefs may want to work fast: as of this morning, a coalition of animal rights groups has vowed to appeal the ruling.