In a story that's still blowing up, foie gras is back in California. Well, the consumption at least — production was banned some four years ago under a mounted attack that the practice was basically animal cruelty, and that law doesn't seem likely to be going anywhere.
Instead, at this very moment, Californians can once again enjoy the delicacy in whatever restaurant they happen to patronize. Should said restaurant be serving it, of course. And that's largely thanks to Sean Chaney from Hot's Kitchen in Hermosa Beach.
You may recall, PETA was keen to cease-and-desist Hot's Kitchen over their continued use of the ingredient, and even threatened to file a lawsuit against the restaurant. Still, chef/owner Chaney stood his ground and challenged the ban in court, arguing it at as commercial right between states.
The crux of the issue is basically this: one state can't tell another state what they can and can't sell or serve on their restaurant menu. And since the USDA still lists foie gras as a poultry product, there's no reason it shouldn't be served in California — even if it can't be produced here. Apparently, the courts have finally agreed with Chaney and his lawyers' assessment.
"Honestly, I’m so stoked that we can finally have a choice to serve what we want," says Chaney. "It was such a ridiculous thing. I was targeted by PETA, I was targeted by everyone. This whole thing is kind of like a big F.U., to say that we were right."
There's still a lot to know here, so Eater will update as more info becomes available. What are your thoughts on the unbanning of foie gras?
UPDATE: Below is an official press release from the Hot's Kitchen team regarding the legal about-face.