Faux Foie Gras | CookingDistrict.com

Faux Foie Gras

Of all the ills that animal rights groups see in the culinary world, none has taken such a public or high-profile hit as foie gras. Since the rich, savory product derives from the liver of a duck or goose that has been fattened through the force-feeding or otherwise high-volume feeding of corn, some claim that its production is particularly inhumane. Foie gras has therefore become something of a flashpoint for animal rights advocates. Many others, including many within the culinary world, would cite factory farming or other incidents of animal mistreatment as far more dire offenses; nonetheless, the decadent foie gras remains a perpetual target. Differing opinions on the matter emerged clearly when the Chicago City Council voted to ban foie gras sales altogether—and, after outcry from the culinary community, several restaurant foie gras giveaways, and multiple lawsuits, the law was repealed less than two years later.
In a new move appealing to culinary creativity, PETA announced their Fine Faux Fois Gras Challenge—a competition for the creation of a vegetarian foie gras alternative. Appealing both to culinary tradition and humane animal treatment, the organization is calling for a viable yet “authentic” substitute on menus worldwide. PETA will offer $10,000 to the chef who can best replicate the flavor, feel, and texture of foie gras, and features it in his or her restaurant. While any technique or preparation is acceptable, the resulting “faux gras” must be completely vegetarian—meaning, according to the official rules, no animal or animal-derived products whatsoever.

While appealing to French culinary tradition may seem a bit suspect—it’s hard to imagine that any foie gras aficionado would be content with a veggie alternative, any more than a Kobe beef enthusiast would settle for a Boca Burger—the challenge is certainly an opportunity for creative thinking, and a tidy prize, besides.

Photograph from ilmungo on Flickr


kdelavillefromoy001 • 01/25/2009
Disgusting to even think about a Faux fois Gras.If you don't like it don't order it and if it's a question of animal ethics,PETA should be concentrating on the bigger issues, not on a relatively small issue as force feeding for the last 6 weeks of an animals life. Another different yet similar bizarre food product is the Faux products such as bacon, sausages and a couple more I am sure I am forgetting. So called vegatarians who use these products should question there core motives.If you like the taste of bacon then eat bacon.
kgannaway001 • 01/26/2009
So THIS is what PETA spends their money on...
rkaplan001 • 01/28/2009
If some company actually created a Faux Foi Gras from vegetables, I sure as heck would not order it buy it or eat it. PETA wants to go after industries that supposedly mistreat animals. They can't go after the big guys so they pick the fights they think they can win. If PETA really is a force to be reckoned with, why don't they go after what they really want......to stop the killing of animals for human consumption. They are going to lose.....PERIODPlease stop.
bbarnes001 • 01/28/2009
I would urge any chef not to be closed minded, when items come along such as faux foie gras, forget the politics. Open your mind and palate and continue to explore all the amazing things that can come from good cooking.
sflaherty001 • 01/29/2009
bbarnes001 • 01/29/2009
Now there is an example of an open mind, stay in that box my friend, make it comfortable, you will never need to leave
dafletch • 01/31/2009
I suspect there is no substitute for foie gras-delicious, no doubt. Cruelty to animals, whether during the last moments or for the entirety of it's life, is still cruelty. I suspect a well prepared flank steak from a non-ambulatory toddler is wonderfully and delicately delicious. But just because it tastes good does not mean we should ignore it's origin.
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