San Francisco News

Chefs say foie gras fight not over yet

Saturday, July 14, 2012
foie gras slider 1 arrested at foie gras protest

Despite the ban on foie gras, some Bay Area restaurants say the fight isn't over yet. The ban took effect on July 1, 2012 after a series of ABC7 News I-Team reports in 2003 exposed how birds are force fed to make the delicacy.

At the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco they say they don't have to follow the ban. That's because everything is handled differently on federal property. For example, the Presidio Social Club says it doesn't have to have a state liquor license in order to serve alcohol. So the owner figured it also exempts him from the foie gras ban.

Reservations at the Presidio Social Club have been sold out since this past Monday. That's when chef and owner Ray Tang decided to ignore the state ban on foie gras and begin serving it on Saturday, in honor of Bastille Day. Tang decided that since his restaurant is located on federal land, he would be exempt from the state ban on foie gras which went into effect July 1, 2012. Patrons devoured the foie gras sliders being served at $20 apiece.

Those who we spoke to agree with the claim that the restaurant is not tied to state laws. The chef did not want to go on camera, but we were directed by his spokesperson to a recent quote.

Tang said, "I don't go through the California Alcoholic Beverage Control or even have a California liquor license. We even have our own federal health inspector and are not required to go through the local or state health departments."

"If it was banned everywhere we probably wouldn't be having it. Because it's here, it's an opportunity," said Greg Pelling, a restaurant patron.

We couldn't reach the Presidio Trust for a comment on Saturday, but they have told the restaurant that their actions are inconsistent with The Presidio. We are told that the issue has been referred to the California attorney general's office for review.

An animal rights group showed up outside the restaurant to protest the restaurant around 6 p.m. They're saying all restaurants in California should abide by the law, whether or not they are on federal land.

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food, laws, presidio, san francisco news
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