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  1. Looks like you know...not much. I receive exactly zero compensation--from Bravo, from Michelob, from anyone--not one dollar, not "any thing of value" --for blogging Top Chef. I'm a fanboy and occasional participant on the show (certainly not for the money--cause they pay shit). I like the show. I like watching the show. I like hanging out with Tom and Ted and assorted chef cronies and tasting food.And I enjoy dishing about the show on line . Period. And I don't drink Michelob. Cause it tastes like crap. You can quote me. Aww shit. Look what you did. You made me post here.
  2. See latest AP story with quote from Panter.
  3. Fully in agreement with FG's post but to assume that "D'Artagnan would take a big hit but surely survive" is a leap of faith. Why would or should they take a big hit? And just how big a hit would that be? Let's be clear here--and stress something that a lot of posters seem to be missing: The entire D'Artagnan business model--though "only" 30% foie products--is based around--or principally emanates from-- a duck breed which was raised specifically for foie. The whole DUCK, ultimately--not the liver--is under threat. It's like asking Kentucky Fried Chicken to continue to do business without chicken. (Hey--you can still make money on the soft drinks!)Costs associated with moving facilities, severance pay, training of new employees, hiring , conforming to new licensing requirements--likely higher rents, transportation and so on might well be prohibitive. Particularly in the current environment. Let us remember that Hudson Valley Foie Gras in NY and Sonoma in Cali. are ALSO dealing with serious challenges. Should the NJ law be allowed to pass, prospects for any long term home in another state would be something of a gamble. Few in the artisanal foie production business--speaking privately--will express much confidence that it will be business as usual in ten years. Should the bad guys win in NJ, and with prospects as gloomy as they are (and a NJ ban would surely make those prospects gloomier)--many, if not most businessmen could scarcely be blamed for simply deciding to fold up their tent and go home. Personally? Faced with relocation in these difficult times? I'd say "Fuck it. You can all go back to those skinny, grey, frozen Long Island ducks of old. Buy your freaking foie in a can--imported. And sorry about all those squabs and pheasants and that Scottish game and nice morels and white asparagus and fresh truffles and other goodies we've been getting you all these years--nobody works here anymore." Unreasonable, hysterical, worst-case scenario? Maybe. Maybe not. They're already talking about taking your biscuits away in NYC. The "where does it all end?" question is weighing very heavily on the minds of people like D'Artagnan. Beyond asking "where" can one relocate these days , one must also ask "for how long?" How things go in NJ might well be the canary in the mine shaft.
  4. If they are the premier supplier for many items french, european, hard-to-get and all parts duck as you say above, they will perhaps not go out of business, no?They just need to charge a bit more for the other duck parts, to make up the lost foie revenue. Any idea what % of the company's profit is due to foie sales, vs all the other products together? ← Foie gras and foie gras related products constitute, they have said, 30% of their income stream. THIRTY PERCENT. That's an impossible gap to make up for with mark-up. More importantly, the duck breasts, legs, bones, gizzards, pates, sausages, terrines and fat etc--which we chefs have all come to know and rely on--and which you have come to expect as constituting the restaurant standard--are a direct by-product of that same specially bred duck. No foie? No nice breast. No foie? No good duck sauces etc. No foie? No D'Artagnan. End of story.
  5. Having messed around with market research a bit, I'm surprised the question, as phrased, didn't generate a 99% response in favor of banning foie gras. There is nothing impartial about this poll. My guess is it was financed by Farm Sanctuary or a similar organization. Shame on Zogby for lending its name to it. I'm sure that is the case. And I want only the best for D'Artagnan and their employees and families. They have fed me quite nicely on occasion, other than some buckshot I once bit into. But even though New Jersey once banned sunnyside up eggs for a short period of time until shouted down by the populace, I'm hoping and pretty sure this is just a politician trying to make his bones. ← You put a lot of faith in the voting public. My point is that if not made forcefully aware of the consequences--to fine dining, to the dining scene as a whole, to New Jersey's good name, to a great company and good woman--and to 120 taxpaying Jersey based employees--this law could well pass. As it did in no less a place as Chicago.
  6. http://www.nofoiegras.org/FGzogby.htm
  7. I refer you to a recent Zogby poll on foie gras. And I can assure you the people involved are taking it VERY seriously. That would include 120 D'Artagnan employees and their families....
  8. According to impeccable sources, I am led to believe that Assemblyman Michael Panter, freshman (and vegetarian) from New Jersey will next week introduce a bill making production and SALE of foie gras in that state a crime. A bill to prohibit production has already been put forward--but what would THIS legislation mean--if passed? It would mean that D'Artagnan, the premier supplier of foie gras and foie-gras related products for New York tri state area restaurants and retail would be forced to go out of business or move elsewhere. In addition to no more foie that means no more magret duck breasts, duck bones, confit, charcuterie, or myriad other fancy food items from that essential source. Understand that the burgeoning New York restaurant fine dining scene GREW UP around Ariane Daguin's company. That she has--since the company's inception-- been a premier supplier of all things French, European, and hard to get for chefs--and not just foie!. New York menus reflected and continue to a great extent to reflect what she could import or create for her passionately devoted and grateful clientele of virtually every name chef in the North East. As well, she has provided, guidance, support, networking and help of every kind to chefs both French and otherwise--in short: she is a personality as central and integral to the whole landscape of professional gastronomy as Julia Child was to home cooks in her day. As well, the entire Franco/American subculture in New York revolves around her and around D'Artagnan products. To do think of the New York restaurant scene without her--or her company is to contemplate the apocalypse. It is absolutely unbelievable that opportunistic politicians would attempt to bring shame and ridicule on their state, cripple the dining standards of New York City, remove a crucial primary color from every chef's palate so as to beat up on the easy target of a small, independently owned and operated company, built up over time through the hard work of an extraordinary woman. Meanwhile not DARING to tackle the far more destructive (to human AND animals) battery chicken issue--our country's voracious appetite for crispy fried chicken From Any Source Necessary. Why try picking on the Colonel on principal when there's a small business you can ruin for a few votes? This is not a question of whether or not the production of foie gras is "cruel" or "crueler" than other processes involving food production. About lurid videos, gag reflexes or lack of. That has been explored elsewhere--and more authoritatively. This is a question of the dining public's right to choose. This is about a vital figure central to all our lives--we who claim to love food and fine dining-- and her ability to stay in business. This is about big goverment and a few lunatic fringe attempting to crush the little guy. With every likelyhood of succeeding. It's the final barricade, the last redoubt. If the invaders breach this line than dining as we know it will surely change beyond recognition. As a longtime Jersey boy, I am ashamed and embarrassed for my state--particularly as I recently made a show which --over-optimistically perhaps, portrayed it as a place poised to become a serious food destination. This atrocity--if passed--could be the beginning of the end. The Final Victory of the Rubes and Extremists. New Jersey, New York chefs, and the dining public deserve better. PLEASE write the criminally misguided assemblyman and make your opinions heard. The end could well be near.
  9. I'm very aware of how flip my response to the Post was (made last Wednesday, very early in the crisis)as I sought to reassure family and friends that we were safe and okayand in good cheer. . It was--at the time--very representative of the (outward) attitude of Beirutis themselves, who pride themselves on their resilience and their determination to "keep the party going." Initially, many Beirutis were still going strong at nightclubs as jets flew low and menacingly overhead. Even that proud, famously world-weary attitude quickly changed, however, as circumstances here became even more appalling. I can certainly understand how offensive it might be to those on the ground here--or those with family and friends here--to read some of what's been posted on the other NR thread--and understand why it's been closed for now. It is indeed heartbreaking and horrifying what has happened to this lovely country--to spanking new, lovingly restored,resurgent Beirut in particular, in only a few days of sustained and seemingly senseless destruction. A few days ago, this was a place where people were bursting with pride for the relative tolerance, progressive attitudes, and lack of conflict between groups. I was standing with a group: a Sunni, a Christian, and a Shiite--by the Hariri memorial when the gunfire started and the Hezbollah people appeared driving through city center and honking their horns in "celebration" for the capture/kidnappings. The look of dismay and embarrasment on all three faces...and the grim look of resignation as they all-- instantly-- recognized what would inevitably come next...it's something I will never forget. Of the three, our Shiite security guy, a tall, taciturn man, was the last to leave us, insisiting on staying by our side though he and his family lived in the much more perilous Southern part of Beirut. After witnessing many quick telephone exchanges between him and his family, and as more bombs and shells began to fall, seeing him nervously fingering his prayer beads, we finally convinced him to leave. His house was later flattened..We were soon relocated to a safer part of town.The sense of regret and ...shame we feel at being relatively safe yet witness to the carnage...and that we never got to show the world how beautiful this country and its people are--how much "like us" (yet uniquely and wonderfully not), how international, muti-lingual, multi-faith..how fantastic the food and hospitality is...will gnaw at us forever. WE will make it home. WE--unlike most Lebanese, have been (relatively) safe and secure during this. Trapped, yes--but trapped by a freaking swimming pool-not under the rubble of our homes. We may be only a few thousand yards or a few miles from the falling bombs-but we have an eventual way out. What hasn't been talked about much in the press, is how many young returnees there are/were here: young, educated Lebanese who'd emigrated abroad or been born aboad and only recenly returned..how filled with hope they were, how much they loved their country, how hopeful and enthusiastic they were that they could make a difference (and they WERE making a difference). That is all ashes now.. We (the NR crew) are indeed well--and well looked after. It's indeed frightening here, it's enraging, it's horrifying,and its frustrating..the classic "long hours of boredom interspersed with moments of terror" phenom they always use when talking about life during wartime. But we are relatively safe. And sooner or later we will no doubt be heading home. We will never forget the Beirut that could have been-and will hopefully be again. Or what we saw here. I fully hope and expect that the administrators/mods will allow this post--and immediately close it to further comment. The crew and I greatly appreciate all the previous comments and expressions of concern here and thank you all.
  10. Way it's looking now--there ain't gonna be a show.
  11. The Israelis just bombed the airport...so it look like we won't be going anywhere soon... Thanks for the good wishes..
  12. There is no book. For accomanying prose see chapter in Nasty Bits on my time with Ferran at El Bulli. It covers much the same ground as the DVD. In other news, we are currently shooting an episode of NR in Lebanon--and it should be video gold. Those kookie-krazy kids from Hezbollah were popping off their weapons today(shooting in the air, I gather)--and Israel has been bombing and mobilizing a division in the South with reported land and sea strikes... (See today's news--and quotes from Israeli PM). While the party continues in Beirut--there's a lot of concern that the Israelis will follow up with strikes on infrastructure (like the power grid). And we were due to head to the Bekka Valley tomorrow. BTW..this town is Party Central!
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