Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will carry on serving foie gras in his restaurants despite the flood of negative publicity around the divisive delicacy.
Refusing to bow to pressure from the anti-foie gras lobby – the Frenchman told decanter.com: ‘Don’t put me on the guillotine. Of course I love foie gras, I’m French. It’s like frogs’ legs or snails, you’re brought up on it.’
Partying at the Hospital Club in London for the launch of London Restaurant Week last night, Novelli conceded that the subject of foie gras is especially delicate at the moment.
‘It’s a catch-22 situation. I heard that they have banned it in some restaurants in the UK and in Chicago.’
In February this year, Michelin-starred restaurant Midsummer House in Cambridge was forced to remove foie gras from its menu following violent protests by animal rights activists.
As a response to the current distaste for foie gras, Novelli has come up with a more animal-friendly alternative to the dish. ‘I am sold a normal sized duck or goose liver and amplify the liver after it is dead. It tastes exactly the same as foie gras – no one can tell the difference.’
Decanter contributing editor Fiona Beckett vowed never to eat foie gras again after witnessing the force-feeding of ducks first hand in southwest France earlier this year.
Novelli, who owns a vineyard in Côte Duras, also spoke out last night against the expansion of the Champagne region.
‘You don’t take the Bentley out of the UK. In ten years everyone will be able to call their wine Champagne, it’s crazy’.
‘It’s a major coup for a lot of producers, but there will be a lot of cheap Mickey Mouse wines calling themselves Champagne that don’t taste anything like the real thing. No one can emulate the region’s unique terroir’, Novelli said.
Fiona Beckett’s foie gras article appears in the May issue of Decanter, on sale April 2.
Written by Lucy Shaw