Monday, May 10, 2010

Where Were The Underemployed Vegans? I Guess They Were Too Busy Not Eating Stuff.

Manhattan, NY.

After weeks of protests, threats and general running-a-muckery it seems like the vegan hatred directed at fellow living being Chef Thomas Keller seems to have collapsed here in the big (non-pesticide sprayed) apple. For those who haven't been following this story, the basic gist is that vegan and animal rights acitivists in Los Angeles have targeted Chef Keller and the artisanal farm where he buys his foie gras for their indignation, protesting at French Laundry and Bouchon and campaigning to make serving the deliciously fatted livers illegal.

On Saturday, a protest was scheduled to occur at the doorstep of Chef Keller's national food mecca Per Se (or rather, on the street side of the anti-terrorism barriers of The Time-Warner Center). The protest was organized by The Animal Protection and Rescue League. They planned a "bi-coastal foie gras demonstration," attempting to hit the Keller restaurants in California and New York City.

Here in New York, only 10 protesters and 3 dogs showed up. There were banners, pamphlets to be passed, but only 20 hands to do it. Rough. Upstairs, the death star went on serving its normal foie-filled menu, adding foie gras dog biscuits to the bakery list. According to Eater, the Los Angeles protests were more animated. It wouldn't have taken much.

Forgetting the animal rights politics of it, I am glad their "protest" failed. Per Se has many many employees, as does the Bouchon Bakery next door, all trying to make a living. I'm genuinely relieved that the angry, meat-starved mob didn't manage to hurt the earning potential of the servers, bartenders, bussers, hosts, reservationists, counter people, baristas, line cooks, dishwashers, porters and stewards on one of the most lucrative nights of service.

And the cherry on top? If it wasn't for Chef Thomas Keller's own passionate, pre-trendy, restaurant-culture-changing interest in ethical farming and local sourcing, even fewer New Yorkers would care about how the meat on their plates got there.


  1. Doesn't that picture make foie gras seem really badass? In a death metal kind of way?

  2. Publius,

    Yes it does. cf. tag "the divine marquis"

    Also, doesn't it seem cruel to dress a goose in bdsm wear against its will and chain it to a wall?

  3. In fairness to the GAIA folks (children of the earth?), I think that's a cartoon.

  4. Trafficking in cruel imagery (whether staged or not) implicates them in the cruelty, no?