Following a vote by the New York City Council last week, to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, a complete ban on the popular delicacy foie gras in the city will come into effect from 2022.
The luxury ingredient has long been a sore subject for animal lovers over the way it is produced. It is made of fattened duck or goose liver and a majority of producers force-feed ducks, which many see as an inhumane practice.
After the news of New York’s ban made headlines, GuideMeMalta (GMM) reached out to local prominent chefs to get their views on whether they agree with the move or not.
Kevin Bonello, Chef de Cuisine at de Mondion within The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux, a leading fine dining establishment, does not mince his words. He told GMM that he is “completely against a ban” on the delicacy.
“It is a product that has been on the market for many years, and there are many other issues that should take precedence,” he remarked.
He stresses that people should not have their dietary wishes imposed on.
Paul Buttigieg, head chef at the highly respected Tmun Restaurant in Gozo concedes that foie gras is not for everybody, adding that it is no secret how the product is made and customers can always choose not to order it.
Making reference to banned food products that people still procure, such as a casu marzu – a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains live insect larvae, he maintains that there is no point in a ban as people will find a way to procure the product all the same.
Prominent restauranteur and chef Marvin Gauci said that if there continues to be demand on the market, he feels obliged to offer it as his competitors will certainly do so.
He told GMM that he is firmly against animal cruelty on a personal level, however as the owner of restaurants such as Tarragon, Caviar and Bull and Susurrus, he has a responsibility to provide his chefs with the best ingredients – otherwise they will move on.
Mr Gauci believes that any discussion on a ban should take place at an EU level, involving countries that produce it such as France and Hungary.