Update: We checked in with chef Michael Cimarusti this morning to see how last night's foie gras protest affected the event. He tells us the dinner went “very well,” and that no major conflict arose between the restaurant and the protesters.
“Obviously we disagree on the subject, but we support their right to do what they do,” he told us, adding that he also believed most diners understood the protesters' right to be there. Cimarusti went on to say, “I understand some of their points, but if I thought it were as bad as they made it out to be, I wouldn't use it.”
Per the chef, Providence gets their foie gras from a French farm that takes the health of the animals very seriously. When asked if the protest had any affect on future menu choices, he told us, “[It] gives you pause and makes you reflect,” adding that he's always considering sustainability.
We also heard from Providence's General Manager Donato Poto who told us, “About 30 [protesters] were there, and they left promptly at 9 p.m. They were well-dressed: better than the guests.”
Turn the page for the original post, published November 16th.
Tonight's highly anticipated Bocuse d'OR USA Foundation event at Providence will have a whole new slew of guests joining the party, holding signs and banners outside.
The event, or rather, the foie gras on tonight's menu, will be protested by the Animal Protection and Rescue League. The group intends to make guests of tonight's dinner — which features dishes by chefs Josiah Citrin, Walter Manzke, Alain Giraud, and Tony Esnault, along with Providence chef-owner Michael Cimarusti and pastry chef Adrian Vasquez — more aware of what they're eating.
Bryan Pease, co-founder of the APRL, believes people aren't conscientious about what goes into making foie gras. “It's an extreme form of animal cruelty,” he tells us, going on to say that, “If [those eating it] knew how it was produced, they wouldn't be interested.”
The organization also hopes to put continued pressure on Thomas Keller, one of the Bocuse d'OR Foundation's directors, to change his practices. They've protested at Bouchon, Keller's Beverly Hills restaurant, before.
The production of foie gras has been banned in 15 countries. California is set to outlaw it in 2012.