Sneaking Outlawed Foie Gras

The delicacy may be banned in California, but chefs are finding ways to skirt the law

Sneaking Outlawed Foie Gras
"Stop them before they cook again"
Photo illustration 731; Photographs by GK Hart/Getty Images (duck); Paul Taylor/Getty Images (toque)

California’s long-awaited ban on foie gras (BBW Sept. 12-18, 2011) took effect on July 1, with fines of as much as $1,000 for those who sell the delicious, fatty livers of force-fed ducks and geese. That hasn’t stopped some restaurants from serving it, though. A few rebel chefs are now hosting clandestine dinners featuring foie gras-laden menus. Others skirt the law by giving away the $50-a-pound delicacy for “free” and charging extra for the other ingredients on the plate. “Demand has gone way up,” says Jeffrey Nimer, a personal chef in Los Angeles, who says the ban doesn’t cover meals prepared in people’s homes. “It’s just like Prohibition. The more you say it’s not allowed, the more people are going to want it.”

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