This morning at 11:45 a.m., chef Ken Frank of La Toque was in a meeting when he received a phone call from Michael Tenenbaum. Frank: “I am in a meeting, I cannot talk to you.”
Tenenbaum: “Shut up, Ken. We won!”
The anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison which led to “La Révolution Française” on July 14, 1789 has become the French National Day. This year in Los Angeles, the French people also celebrated the inscription in November 2010 of “The Gastronomic Meal of the French” on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The California foie gras ban that went into effect yesterday has crossed over the boundaries of the Golden State and the Atlantic Ocean. French Correspondent Caroline Connan of Bloomberg TV in Paris had read the two previous pieces I wrote about the subject, and invited me to visit the studio so Parisians could hear what I had to say. Just watch the video above.
Then, after I made a phone call to chef/owner Gilles Epié of the restaurant Citrus Étoile in Paris, and another to Josiah Citrin’s Melisse restaurant in Santa Monica, CA, the Bloomberg TV crews were invited in to speak with the chefs about the new law. Bloomberg TV has titled its piece: “Chef’s Fury at California Foie Gras Ban.”
Frédéric Lefebvre, a former minister in the French government under Nicolas Sarkozy, is coming to the aid of the people opposed to the foie gras ban in California by organizing a petition. Effective July 1, 2012, it will be illegal to sell to produce and to sell the delicacy in the Golden State.
Here is what California Senate bill No. 1520, signed on September 29, 2004, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, says (extracts):
CHAPTER 13.4. FORCE FED BIRDS
25980. For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
A bird includes, but is not limited to, a duck or goose.
(b) Force feeding a bird means a process that causes the bird to consume more food than a typical bird of the same species would consume voluntarily. Force feeding methods include, but are not limited to, delivering feed through a tube or other device inserted into the bird’s esophagus.
25981. A person may not force feed a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size, or hire another person to do so.
25982. A product may not be sold in California if it is the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size.