Chef Chris Cosentino’s educational and inspirational tool for those who are interested in learning about and cooking with offal.

You Got to Fight for your right for Foie Gras !!!

Just 1 week ago I received a letter and video telling me I need to stop serving Foie Gras. I read the letter and watched the video: all things I had heard and seen before. What came next was very interesting. A phone call asking whether I had received their package and if I would stop serving Foie Gras at Incanto. I said “NO!!”

The response was an angry, “We are coming to protest be prepared” . After a few conversations with my business partner, Mark Pastore, we have come to agree that this will be our “Alamo” if they come to fight. But here is something to mull over, after tons of research, Mark has made our argument in a much more educated and thoughtful way than I ever could, in our “letters from Incanto”.

Leave a Comment (24)

  1. The protesters tried the same thing here in Baltimore. After they get on TV and ruin a few people’s dinners they will go away. Then they go on to protest their newest trend in outrage. Just ignore them and keep serving the foie!

    John Houser III | | Reply
  2. That letter was so long! I certainly didn’t read it all, but I did skim until I found the part about the vet comparing tube-feedings between injured birds and birds raised for foie gras. I’m thinking that letter could be trimmed down, but that’s just me…maybe others enjoy reading super long letters.

    dew | | Reply
  3. Considering how unwise it would be to do battle with people who are trained to skillfully use knives, these “militants” probably have something more cowardly in mind.

    Tags | | Reply
  4. Excellent letter! It was long but well worth reading every word. Well done and keep serving that foie gras!

    Kim | | Reply
  5. Great response, though yes, a bit long. One other thing, title on the letter might need a spell-check.

    Anna | | Reply
  6. Mark gave quite a bit more attention and thought to his argument than I have ever heard from the anti-foie whackos. Make sure to let us know when you decide to serve the 9-course foie menu as I’d love to attend – protesters or no protesters.
    As a note, I had some foie gras yesterday that my brother brought me back from France. It was tasty and my 7-mo old seemed to concur as she heartily enjoyed hers. One more convert for our side!

    Phelps | | Reply
  7. That was a wonderful response, you showed more class and gave them more respect than they deserve. Sadly they won’t go away, when not attacking you they’re attacking scientists for saving lives. The only way to handle these people is via education, cut their recruiting down.

    Thank you again for such a wonderful response.

    Evinfuilt | | Reply
  8. If you’re making your stand, let us know. We’ll be there. This might be your Alamo, but it’s a stand against thoughtless populism for all of us.

    Jonas M Luster | | Reply
  9. Bravi to you and Mark Pastore for standing up to these anonymous cowards and their bully-boy tactics. You guys rock!

    JG | | Reply
  10. fantastic letter. smart, thoughtful, illuminating, and honest.i really appreciate that you guys put together such a well-reasoned response that would convince anyone with a brain that you are coming at this issue from the right place.

    also, i ate at incanto last week and it rocked.

    mei | | Reply
  11. Wow, he so totally doesn’t get it, and I’m disappointed your readers don’t seem to as well. The protests against foie gras can be most easily compared to the protests against fur. Why do animal rights activists protest fur-wearers rather than, say, people who wear leather shoes and belts? Because fur is looked upon as something EXTRAVAGANT that only RICH people can afford, so in the protesters’ eyes it’s not only exploiting the animal but doing so unnecessarily and for luxury purposes. I’m not rich, I’ll never be able to afford foie gras, so I can understand why this is something that gets under activists’ skin. You and Mark SERVE rich people, so maybe this is a blind spot with you. But I would have expected some of your readers not to be rich, and to get this basic point.

    None of this is meant as my opinion on to foie or not to foie, but it’s a moot point with me as I will probably never have the chance to taste something that’s considered such a luxury.

    Elayne Riggs | | Reply
  12. Keep fighting the good fight. My restaurant has come under similar scrutiny. I too bring up the story of Laurent Manrique when defending my craft. Awesome letter. I will have copies on hand to give to any interlopes that come my way. Hold Fast. If you need reinforcements my cooks are sharpening their knifes as we speak.

    Chefkef | | Reply
  13. Mark’s letter is brilliant! Applause to you both for taking a stand.

    Cathy Loup | | Reply
  14. I’m confused. Why do so many people who like fois gras not address the cruelty? Do you know what actually happens to the bird? Don’t get me wrong, I am not a vegan, I’m too much a lover of food, including all the delicious animal products out there. But to me, there’s a big difference between a cow out in the field living comfortably before a swift and humane as possible death, and the force feeding of a duck until it’s liver explodes.

    I understand you are “taking a stand” against activists, but someone please explain why fois gras is so great that it trumps the cruelty???

    Laura Hawes | | Reply
  15. I too received a letter telling me that I should stop serving Foie Gras. It was signed by Mary Tyler Moore. They threatened, that if I did not stop, they would not come to my restaurant. I told them that Mary Tyler Moore and friends should mind their own business. Let me know when Mary will be at my restaurant to protest.

    chef carol

    Carol Frazzetta | | Reply
  16. Outstanding letter by Mark. I will be referancing it anytime anti froi gras protesters rear their ugly heads. The real question is, how can we prevent this from happening in our town. I didnt know these guys were actually so threatening. Keep us posted.

    Luke | | Reply
  17. Wow, you crazy Americans. Ok, we to have some people handing out pamflets and such but the viedotaping of chefs families, thats just scarry. Actually I to have a bit of a strange relationship to foie, I am all for eating the liver of a animal but the force feeding, i dont really know about that part, animals should run around and eat what they want…on the other hand it is soo good. That beeing said i do have more then a kilo of frozen foie at home.

    Chris other than a terrine or sautaing it, what would you do with a lobe of foie? I’m sort of stuck

    Offalboy | | Reply
  18. The letter is brilliant and informative, perfect ammunition against the hysteria that presently surrounds the issue. Abridged, it should be an op-ed piece in the New York times. It will certainly be my reference point for considered debate on the issue in the future.

    JMW | | Reply
  19. As someone who has participated in gavage for therapeutic purposes (injured wild waterfowl), this is not a stress-free process for the bird. But that glosses over several of the flawed syllogisms in the Incanto letter — such as making an analogy between the inherent risks of voluntary human activity (travel) and the actions imposed on those who have no choice. Although one veterinarian is used here as a reference, other veterinarians have concluded the exact opposite in terms of the suffering the geese endure in these operations. But to me, the most egregious part of fois gras is that these questionable and/or controversial practices are used to produce a luxurious delicacy. This is not a necessity by any stretch, and it seems the height of human unconsciousness to make these types of choices in the interest of luxury. Sure, those who enjoy this particular food will fight for the right to serve it. But I find it terribly sad that the desire for a particular taste overrides our capacity to see how large that trade-off really is in the life of another. To force-feed an animal for a precious pate is just antithetical to the idea of a more humane or even sustainable global ethic, although the letter tries to argue otherwise. And yes, there are consequences in all forms of farming, but that, again, is a flawed argument in that there is a distinction to be made between the deliberate use (and often, abuse) of animals for food, and those who endeavor to reduce that suffering as much as possible by not eating meat or contributing to the meat-producing system, even if there are some adjunct effects beyond their control. There is something to be said for intent.

    Diana | | Reply