Restaurant Gets Around Foie Gras Ban By “Gifting” It To Customers

The list of clever end runs around California’s recent ban on the sale of foie gras continues to grow. First it was the restaurant that claimed exemption from the law because it’s in a national park. Now comes an eatery that says the ban doesn’t stop a business from giving foie gras away to customers.

The owner of Chez TJ in Mountain View, CA, says he hasn’t bought any new foie gras since the ban went in to effect on July 1, but that he did stockpile it in advance of that date so that he could later include it as a bonus to the restaurant’s $130 tasting menu.

“[T]he law says you cannot sell it,” he tells CBS San Francisco. “It didn’t say you could not serve it.”

He says he will not buy any more foie gras to not sell to customers until after there is a clear decision on whether what he’s doing is completely legal.

For what it’s worth, the restaurant’s chef believes what Chez TJ is doing is within the letter of the law.

“It is legal,” explains the chef. “The law clearly states that selling and producing foie gras in the state of California is illegal. I don’t see any ducks on our property. It’s not on the menu. I’m not selling it. I’m not getting any profit from the foie gras. I’m simply giving it away as a gift from me.”

The continued not-exactly-selling of foie gras at the restaurant has led to some protests and complaints to local police, who have subsequently passed those concerns on to the county district attorney.

“If they’re violating this law, you have to wonder what other laws are they violating,” one protester tells CBS.

The remaining foie gras at Chez TJ is expected to last through the weekend. The restaurant is not planning to buy any more until the legality of the delicacy is cleared up.