Crying Fowl

Fedele Bauccio takes exception to the recent foie gras ruling in California:

“Foie gras is an expensive delicacy that few people have ever even tried. I am pretty sure the epicureans celebrating the return of force-fed goose and duck liver are the same ones asking if their eggs are pasture-raised and their beef grass-finished…. Others argue that foie gras is such a tiny industry, we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it and concentrate instead on the nation’s 44 million hogs, 12.6 billion cattle, and 3.5 billion broiler chickens.

“We can — and should — do both. The bottom line is that foie gras comes from abused animals. Pretending otherwise is just a fantasy.”

Hooked on Tuna

Even though bluefin tuna is at risk of extinction, some chefs can’t seem to give it up, reports Eliza Barclay:

“There’s one clear reason why it’s still on menus: ‘Bluefin tuna belly is one of the most delicious things in the world,’ says Bruce Mattel, associate dean of food production at the Culinary Institute of America. But, he says, the decision to serve bluefin is ‘largely driven by demographics and customer base’ — in other words, chefs beholden to people spending hundreds of dollars on a meal.”

Duck, Duck, Goose

A judge has overturned California’s foie gras ban, reports the Los Angeles Times. While animal rights groups vowed to appeal the ruling, chefs were celebrating:

“‘It feels a little like December of 1933,’ tweeted Providence chef Michael Cimarusti, referring to the end of Prohibition.”

Unhappy Meal

McDonald’s PR nightmare continues, reports Grub Street:

“After yesterday’s news that a new French fry shortage had crippled Venezuela, forcing stores to deep-fry arepas, and reports from the day before that someone discovered a chunk of vinyl embedded in a McNugget, here’s today’s reminder of how much trouble the Golden Arches is having keeping it together: The Japanese arm of the company issued an apology yet again, this time after an investigation of a ‘foreign object’ found in a customer’s fries last month definitively revealed that the item in question was a human tooth.”

“It’s Lonely at the Top”

As Rich Duprey reports, when compared with the work environments at other fast food restaurants, In-N-Out Burger is an outlier:

“Fast-food restaurants are not generally viewed as among the best places to work. They’re chaotic, stressful, and as recent labor protests would suggest, they don’t pay top-dollar wages.

“So what’s In-N-Out Burger doing on Glassdoor’s 2015 list of 50 Best Places to Work? For the second time in seven years, this relatively small, regional chain centered in and around California has ranked among the top 10 U.S. employers with more than 1,000 employees.

“That means the burger joint was viewed as a better place to work than Facebook, Apple, Nike, and perennial favorite Costco.”

Pot, Meet Kettle

Chefs are beginning to devise dishes using a novel ingredient: cannabis.

“In Colorado, which has issued more than 160 edible marijuana licenses, skilled line cooks are leaving respected restaurants to take more lucrative jobs infusing cannabis into food and drinks. In Washington, one of four states that allow recreational marijuana sales, a large cannabis bakery dedicated to affluent customers with good palates will soon open in Seattle.

“Major New York publishing houses and noted cookbook authors are pondering marijuana projects, and chefs on both coasts and in food-forward countries like Denmark have been staging underground meals with modern twists like compressed watermelon, smoked cheese and marijuana-oil vinaigrette.”

Made in America

American Chinese food has arrived in China, reports Daniela Galarza:

“A year and a half ago, Fung Lam and Dave Rossi opened a location of Fortune Cookie, a restaurant based on Lam’s family’s restaurant, in Shanghai. Today, Fortune Cookie serves ‘sweet-and-sour pork, General Tso’s chicken, orange chicken, chow mein, crab rangoon,’ and other dishes that the former classmates say cannot otherwise be found in Shanghai today.

“Fung’s family runs Chinese restaurants ‘from Brooklyn to Texas’ so the venture is partly a family affair. As they discovered when they first opened, finding ingredients to cook Americanized Chinese food in China is tricky. They have been importing certain ingredients in order to give dishes that ‘American-ized flavor.’ Heinz ketchup is used in the sweet-and-sour recipes; the fried noodles contain Skippy brand peanut butter.”

Diamond of the Kitchen

The world’s largest truffle just sold for $61,250, reports Khushbu Shah:

“According to Grub Street, the truffle, discovered in Umbria last month, was auctioned off this weekend at Sotheby’s in New York City. Only 25 prospective bidders showed up to stake their claim on the nearly four pound white truffle.”

Rise of the Machines

A restaurant in Ningbo, China, is using robots to serve patrons, reports Fox News:

“The automated bots take orders, and even speak to customers with a 40 phrase Mandarin Chinese vocabulary. Each machine travels through the small eatery using an optical sensing system that is designed that keeps them from running into walls or people.”

Restaurant Riddle

From the Onion:

“Mystified internet users confirmed this week that the peculiar, completely empty “About Us” page on the website of local restaurant Imperial Garden has left the origins of the Chinese buffet shrouded in an impenetrable cloud of secrecy. In the place where one would normally see a brief history of the business or a message from its owners, baffled visitors reported finding only a stark white, text-free void, which left them to grapple with the provenance of the all-you-can-eat Szechuan grill on their own”