Michelin-starred chef hits back in row over foie gras in Wanstead restaurant
A Michelin-starred chef has hit back at environmental campaigners trying to stop the sale of foie gras at his Wanstead restaurant.
The Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party is campaigning for Provender bistro, in Wanstead High Street, to take the product off the menu.
Foie gras, which is regarded as a delicacy, is a duck or goose liver product made by force-feeding birds to fatten the liver.
Green Party member Mark Dawes said: “Foie Gras is a cruel product and its sale should be banned.
“I hope people will not buy foie gras from Provender and that the restaurant acts with compassion and stops selling it.”
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But chef and patron Max Renzland, who has worked with celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, insists he is concerned about animal welfare.
He said: “You can eat and buy foie gras in any European country because it’s not inherently cruel.
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“There are bad foie gras farms like there are bad chicken farms and chicken is eaten by a far bigger proportion of the population.
“A tiny proportion of our customers eat it but it’s about freedom of choice.”
Provender sells an estimated 10 to 15 livers a week.
Mr Renzland has been in the restaurant trade for 35 years and said he has visited many foie gras farms.
He added: “The foie gras we use is done mainly in very small farms and yes, there’s a funnel used, but in very small quantities.
“I’m sure you can find plenty of YouTube clips on the internet but I don’t think you can criticise something you’ve never seen.”
The Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party previously campaigned against the sale of foie gras in Belgique patisserie in Cambridge Park, Wanstead.
Mr Dawes is also involved in campaigns against sellers including Fortnum and Mason.
He said: “The aim of our campaign is to raise awareness of the cruelty of foie gras and that Provender is selling the product in the hope that if customers do not order it, it will be taken off the menu and help stop animal suffering.”
Production is banned in the UK but there are no rules against selling imported foie gras.