Hollywood Power Lunching: Where Is Foie Gras Back on the Menu?

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A federal judge recently overturned California's law banning its sale.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

On Jan. 7, when a federal judge overturned California's law banning the sale of foie gras — saying it ran afoul of federal regulation of poultry products — chefs who'd been missing the controversial fatty duck-liver delicacy (which went off menus in 2012) exulted, including original suit litigant Sean Chaney, owner of Hot's Kitchen in Hermosa Beach. Thomas Keller quickly shipped in provisions from top purveyor Hudson Valley Foie Gras to Beverly Hills, serving up terrines of it at Bouchon.

"We are thrilled to be offering our guests the opportunity to enjoy this again," says Keller, who has seen regulars come in just for the dish. Chateau Marmont is serving a terrine with honeycomb, prunes and a fig baguette, and Valley sushi spot Kiwami is sauteing foie in a plum-wine reduction.

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But animal-rights groups are confident the ban will return and note that producing foie gras — which they contend is cruel because it involves force-feeding ducks — remains illegal in California. Lisa Lange, PETA senior vp, calls the food "torture in a tin" and says "this decision will be reversed on appeal."

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