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O.C. chef agrees to stop serving foie gras after PETA threat

April 19, 2013|By Annie Kim
  • When the foie gras ban was announced, Santa Monica chef Raphael Lunetta of JiRaffe restaurant protested by serving a six-course fois gras dinner.
When the foie gras ban was announced, Santa Monica chef Raphael Lunetta… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

One of two restaurant owners threatened with legal action by animal rights activists has decided to stop serving foie gras.

Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach will no longer dish up fattened duck liver as a complementary side to a $55 glass of wine.

“We’re calling it quits,” Ahmed Labbate, Amar Santana’s partner and director of operations at Broadway, said Friday. “I wish I had the money to fight PETA, but we don’t. We’re a small restaurant and we don’t have the means.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had sent each chef a letter in early April threatening legal action if the restaurants didn’t stop serving foie gras.

The sale and purchase of foie gras was banned statewide July 1 but chefs Santana and Noah Blom of Arc in Costa Mesa continued to serve it in ways they believed would comply with the law.

PETA, though, took issue with what it deemed attempts to sidestep the law. “We’re glad these chefs will discontinue illegally giving foie gras away,” said Lisa Lange, PETA’s senior vice president of communications in Los Angeles. She said the group was pleased with the decision by the one restaurant to stop serving foie gras, calling it "the right and humane decision.”

Blom said customers he knows well will still be able to get foie gras at Arc. He said he had been using it in a sauce for an off-menu steak dish.

Broadway received numerous emails, messages on Facebook and phone calls made by callers who cursed and threatened to protest his restaurant, Labbate said. 

“I want to close the situation right now before it goes any further,” he said.

Blom said he also received emails and people drove by screaming at his restaurant.

“We’re dealing with a big backlash from PETA, threatening emails and calls to the staff,” Blom said. “For the safety of my staff we’re just going to stay silent on the issue.”

Lange said she was unaware of members making threatening phone calls.

“We can’t confirm that,” she said. “All we can speak to is the way we reached out to them, which is by letters.”

Last week, Broadway served 50 glasses of the wine and went through about 12 pounds of free foie gras, Santana said previously.

Labbate sent an email to PETA on Thursday, stating that the restaurant would stop serving foie gras.


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