Foie gras has been relegalized in California for all of 24 hours, but the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals are already on it when it comes to protesting the decision, announcing that they'll be picketing Embarcadero restaurant One Market beginning at 5:30 this evening. The catch: Foie gras isn't even on the menu at One Market tonight.
"It's a little weird," says One Market chef Mark Dommen. "There's plenty of other restaurants in the city that actually have it in-house right now, but I have to respect their right to protest. I think they just picked us because we're an easy location." To be fair to PETA, while Dommen doesn't have foie on his menu right now, he has served it before and plans to serve it again; he also participated in the foie protest meal that Ken Frank, a champion of the foie ban's overturn, held at La Toque last year.
In a statement released by PETA, its president, Ingrid Newkirk, said that "The main ingredient in every bite of foie gras is cruelty to animals, and PETA is calling on kind people everywhere to stay away from any restaurant that insists on serving this vile dish." The organization cites investigations of foie gras farms, largely in France, in which birds are found "dead, sick, and dying," with pipe wounds in their necks from force-feeding. (The organizers of tonight's protest say they'll be displaying "graphic posters" of this process.)
For his part, Dommen says that he believes customers should have the right to choose. "The right has been returned to us to choose what we put on our menu, and our customers have the right to choose whether they order it or not, and the right to protest it as well. That's better than before, when that right was taken away from us, and from the customer." He plans to serve a pan-seared version, with duck dashi broth and seaweed, once his shipment comes in.