Downtown's Restaurant Thir13en and its chef/owner, Adam Pechal, received national press with a feature in Sunday's New York Times. But instead of a review or rundown of Sacramento's culinary scene, the article focused on California chefs who are flouting the state's ban on foie gras. The article features a picture of Pechal preparing a foie gras appetizer - a "complimentary" item, as to skirt the law - and details how he stockpiled on foie gras before the July 1 ban.
"Foie freezes fantastically," Pechal told the New York Times. "That's the beauty of it. The foie gras liver, it's a beautiful product. Worst-case scenario for me, I'll just go to Tahoe and spend the week and find somebody in Nevada. It's as simple as that. I can drive an hour and a half and buy it in another state."
Though a violation of the law can result in a $1,000 fine, enforcement throughout the state has been nearly non-existent. However, two citizen complaints have been filed against Sacramento area restaurants which have flouted the foie gras ban. The target of those complaints are Restaurant Thir13en and The Kitchen.
According to Zeke Holst, spokesman for Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation, one of those complaints was sent anonymously to the county shortly after a late-July article in the Bee which detailed local chefs exposing loopholes in the law banning foie gras.
But for now, no local restaurant has been fined, as the county still seeks clarification on the law and how to levy fines.
"We're asking for more direction on how to handle this," said Holst.
Stay tuned for more news as the foie gras controversy continues to unfold.