Coming to work armed and wearing a bullet proof vest is not an occupational hazard that most chefs expect to encounter. But that's exactly what San Francisco chef, Russell Jackson, claimed he had to do recently because of his stance against a foie gras state wide ban that will begin throughout California on the 1st of July.
The chef, who runs the Lafitte restaurant, has staged a number of FU Foie Gras dinners with his latest foie-ree planned for the 29th of April. The dinner includes a five course foie gras based tasting menu and a 5oz potted foie gras take away option. Foie gras lovers can even buy T-shirts or donate to the 'fight the foie gras ban' fund through the restaurants event page.
Jackson says the dinners are a way to protest the ban and that he will continue to fight until it's stopped, but the move has sparked a number of protests from animal rights activists and San Franciscans in general who believe the process of gavaging, force feeding Geese until their livers expand, is a cruel and inhumane process. The dinner has even led to the chef telling one reporter that he is receiving death threats hourly and that he would come to work armed.
This is not the first time the controversial food has been banned in America, in 2006 the city of Chicago passed a ban only for it to be overturned two years later. Some European countries have also banned the sale of the product but California is the first state in America to ban the food.
Whatever the outcome of the FU Dinners and whatever the outcome of the ban, it's safe to assume that wherever there's foie gras there will be debate. A debate that always seems to be centered on the yes or the no - the yay or the nay - but never on the fact that foie gras can be made in a humane way...
Francesco Martucci from I Masanielli in the Campania region of Italy has been named the best pizzaiolo in the world for a third year running. See the full list as well as all the international winners.