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| Columns |

Bernstein, Eismann, and Johnny V Forsake Helpless Animals

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A few years ago I wrote a feature in New Times called Foie Wars, in which a dozen local chefs offered their views on the bloated liver controversy. I bring this up not to revisit the debate, but rather as a cheesy way to recycle a past article for self-promotional reasons. And also because I thought it might be interesting to see what a couple of toques who had stopped serving foie gras are doing today, and to see what another one who was sitting on the fence has decided. Of the chefs interviewed back then, only Giancarla Bodoni of Escopazzo has kept her banishment of foie gras in tact.

Johnny Vinczencz in 2006: "I had been contacted by several of the organizations trying to stop the production of it (foie gras). They sent me a pretty graphic video, but it was unclear if the footage was shot in the United States. So I began to research it and realized the movement was quite large and gaining momentum. I was only using foie gras as an accompaniment to one of my entrées, so after a couple of comments from customers who were supportive of the movement, I decided I would serve something else. It just doesn't mean than much to me."

Currently on the menu at Johnny V's: Duck Duck Duck: Seared duck breast, leg of duck confit, duck foie gras, wild mushroom stuffing, wilted spinach, baby carrots ($30.00).

Jonathan Eismann in 2006: "There was a large price increase about ten months ago, and I was concerned at seeing a $25 appetizer on my menu. But we were contacted by a few groups, and though I've ordered it in other restaurants and eaten it, I've sort of subconsciously removed it from use. I think it's a worthy boycott -- I mean I can live without it."

Currently on the menu at Pacific Time: Seared foie gras apple tatin, with pineapple carpaccio and pomegranate syrup ($16.00).

Michelle Bernstein in 2006: Taking foie gras off the menu is "something I am heavily considering," but the decision "is not a very easy one. I have learned to use it, love it, live it for so many years. I understand the situation, and I am really trying to figure out the best way of dealing with it."

Currently on the menu at Michy's: Seared foie en brick, with bing cherry gastrique ($24).
At Sra. Martinez: Seared foie gras with pear puree and crispy quinoa ($18.00).

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