Animal rights activists plan to disrupt Providence dinner, foie gras menu


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Animal rights activists plan to march outside Providence restaurant Tuesday night, protesting a menu at a special fundraising dinner that is slated to include foie gras.

The restaurant is holding a fundraising dinner in honor of the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, which selects and supports the American team that competes in the Bocuse d’Or, the international culinary competition named after chef Paul Bocuse, and considered the food world’s version of the Olympics. Providence chef Michael Cimarusti is a culinary councilmember of Bocuse d’Or USA. According to the restaurant’s website, the menu for the event -- tickets cost $150 per person -- will feature several noted L.A. chefs offering their interpretations of Bocuse’s signature dishes. Among the multi-course menu items: duck stuffed with foie gras.


Providence co-owner and general manager Donato Poto said he was surprised to learn of the protest, but added that the menu would stand.

San Diego attorney and animal rights activist Bryan Pease issued a press release late Sunday night announcing that the Animal Protection & Rescue League would protest the appearance of foie gras on the menu.

But there is another target, too: Legendary chef Thomas Keller. A mentor and champion to American chefs competing in the Bocuse d’Or, Keller has been the subject of similar protests because he continues to serve foie gras at his celebrated restaurants.

A phone call to Pease’s office was not immediately returned. But the press release outlined activists’ concerns about the controversial process often used to make foie gras. The press release says that other notable chefs, such as Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter, have sworn off foie gras for good, and the activists want the rest of the food world to follow.

Contacted at Providence Monday morning, Poto said he hadn’t heard of protest plans. ‘You are the first person to tell me that.... There’s nothing I can do about it, they have a right to do that,’ he said of protesters. He added that he had no plans to change the menu. ‘Foie gras has been on menus for hundreds of years.’

Pease’s press released promises that about 50 protesters will be on hand to do all they can to spoil the appetites of would-be diners. Headlined ‘Dinner-goers will have to duck activists crying ‘fowl’ over force feeding,’ the press release says that protesters will display ‘large graphic banners depicting the torture of animals they have documented inside ‘foie gras’ farms.’


-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

File photo: Providence restaurant. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times