Front Desk

A delicate dilemma

Chicago has come into its own, culinarily speaking, in the past 10 years. Some of the countryâ€â„¢s best restaurants and celebrity chefs call the Windy City home, producing creative and exciting cuisine.

However, foodies across the country have to be scratching their heads in wonder over the cityâ€â„¢s recent ban on the sale of that most refined and yet controversial goose liver delicacy, foie gras. (Foie gras is controversial among animal rightâ€â„¢s advocates because of the method of its making—force feeding animals to enlarge the liver).

"This latest move by the city of Chicago belittles diners by telling them theyâ€â„¢re not intelligent enough to make their own decisions," says Michael Garbin, president of Chicagoâ€â„¢s Professional Culinarians chapter of the American Culinary Federation and executive chef of the Union League Club of Chicago. "Chicagoâ€â„¢s City Council has effectively trampled on oneâ€â„¢s capability to decide where to dine by eliminating a choice."

Adds John Draz, vice president of Windy City Professional Culinarians, "Will we soon see a ban on beef, veal or other poultry because animal-rights activists consider industrial livestock practices not to their liking? Recent initiatives such as Take a Pass on Chilean Sea Bass from the National Environmental Trust and Chefs Collaborativeâ€â„¢s moratorium on swordfish are good examples of how the market and industry can be effective in changing dining habits without legislation."

Here here. The negative news for local restaurants coincides with the recent release of data indicating Chicagoâ€â„¢s convention business is heading south and west to other metropolitan cities. Such trivial attention by the local government to a personal choice can only hurt efforts to attract coveted business and leisure travel and dining dollars.

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