Six Chefs, Six Dishes of Foie Gras — Yes, In California

Miniature duck dogs with foie gras torchon on pretzel buns by Chef Victor Scargle.

Miniature duck dogs with foie gras torchon on pretzel buns by Chef Victor Scargle.

 

It was a veritable swoon fest when 50 hand-picked guests came together to salivate over course after course of foie gras.

Yes, in California — the only state in the nation that bans that specialty product made from the fattened liver of a goose or duck.

That was the scene on July 5 at La Toque restaurant in Napa, which famously held a “State of American Foie Gras” lunch to publicize the fact that it’s been two years now since it became illegal to produce or sell foie gras in the state. Which is why La Toque gave it away — charging guests nothing for the lunch. Instead, the restaurant held a contest, asking people to write in about why “California’s foie gras ban is foolish.” Twenty-five winners were chosen, each of whom were allowed to bring a guest.

Scargle preparing his dish.

Scargle preparing his dish.

The guest chefs in the kitchen (L to R): David Bazirgan, Patrick Mulvaney, Mark Dommen, Douglas Keane and Victor Scargle.

The guest chefs in the kitchen (L to R): David Bazirgan, Patrick Mulvaney, Mark Dommen, Douglas Keane and Victor Scargle.

Nearly  200 people entered. Kelvin Kwan, 40, of San Mateo was only too happy to attend after his wife, Diane Wong, 40, won the seats. “Whenever we travel out of state – whether it’s for work or pleasure – I guarantee that at least one meal will have foie gras,’’ says Kwan, a high-tech entrepreneur. “Now that we can’t get it in California, we always look for it on menus elsewhere.’’

Chef Doug Keane's parfait of foie gras with cherry blossom gelee, myoga and shiso.

Chef Doug Keane’s parfait of foie gras with cherry blossom gelee, myoga and shiso.

The foie gras was donated for the event. Six chefs, all ardent foie gras supporters, prepared the meal. They were: Victor Scargle of Lucy Restaurant & Bar in Yountville, Doug Keane of the Healdsburg Bar & Grill, David Bazirgan of Dirty Habit in San Francisco, Mark Dommen of One Market in San Francisco, Ken Frank of La Tqoue, and Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento.

Terrine of foie grsa with brioche, stone fruit, almond and vadouvan by Chef David Barzirgan.

Terrine of foie grsa with brioche, stone fruit, almond and vadouvan by Chef David Barzirgan.

Seared foie gras with seaweed, radish and duck-dashi consomme by Chef Mark Dommen.

Seared foie gras with seaweed, radish and duck-dashi consomme by Chef Mark Dommen.

Slow-roasted foie gras with sweet corn, black truffle, celery and rye crumbs by Chef Ken Frank.

Slow-roasted foie gras with sweet corn, black truffle, celery and rye crumbs by Chef Ken Frank.

Yours truly was a guest at this first all-foie gras restaurant event held since the ban took effect. My story on it, which includes an update on how proponents are working to overturn the law, appears in this month’s issue of Food Arts magazine.

Dessert -- yes, dessert! -- of seared foie gras on pan perdu with boysenberry and caramel cremeux by Chef Patrick Mulvaney.

Dessert — yes, dessert! — of seared foie gras on pan perdu with boysenberry and caramel cremeux by Chef Patrick Mulvaney.

One of the entries Chef Ken Frank received in the contest to win a seat at the lunch.

One of the entries Chef Ken Frank received in the contest to win a seat at the lunch.

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2 comments

  • Seriously the most decadent meal in ages. The husband would so love this!

  • Oh my gosh how fabulous, in so many ways! I would have given anything to be there (lucky you – and I will hop over and read your story if the link allows). I think this event was amusing and impressive. Toque off to the chef.

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