California's upcoming July 1 foie gras ban has been a hot topic ever since chefs like Thomas Keller and Ludo Lefebvre came out against the ban. So naturally, we picked the brains of some of the best chefs around the country at the 2012 James Beard Awards.
Not surprisingly, Wolfgang Puck was for the ban, saying, "We want to know how we treat what we eat... I think if somebody wanted to eat it, they eat it, but to me it's what we stand for."
Dan Barber, a notable advocate for humane treatment of animals, was against the ban. "I think the foie gras issue, the gavage, the force feeding is so complicated and it's handled so differently from producer to producer, so it's really hard to legislate it as one size fits all," he explained.
David Chang, on the other hand, said he hopes legislation "comes to their senses," while Thomas Keller turned it into an issue of having the ability to dine together.
"One of the few ways for us to enjoy ourselves is to be able to sit around a table and enjoy food," he told us. "So I hope that our representatives in Sacramento will realize that enjoyment around a dinner table with friends and family is something that’s sacred."
As for restaurateur Joe Bastianich, he's also stuck on the idea of choosing what you eat. "I still like the concept that you really should be able to eat whatever you want," he said. But he's not too worried about a ban in New York. "I don’t think we’ll let it happen in New York, right? I mean come on."
Additional reporting by Ali Rosen.