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Eric Lechasseur's Vegan Pate Spares Birds, Earns Him $1,000 in Kitchen Equipment
For Immediate Release:July 8, 2010
Contact:Amanda Schinke 757-622-7382
Venice, Calif. -- Los Angeles-area foodies have something to celebrate: pan-fried vegan foie gras, a delicious and humane alternative to duck- and goose-liver foie gras. Restaurant owner and chef Eric Lechasseur developed the delicacy for PETA's Fine Faux Foie Gras competition and took second place. His vegan foie gras is now on the menu at his restaurant Seed.
On what inspired him to enter the contest, Lechasseur says, "It was a perfect challenge for me, trained originally in French cuisine, to transform what is widely regarded as a delicacy--albeit controversial--into a healthy recipe, yet still mouth-wateringly attractive and satisfying."
For his vegan creation--a pan-fried faux foie gras on olive oil-infused ciabatta with a blackberry port wine sauce--Lechasseur has won $1,000 in cooking equipment. Lechasseur is a vegan and was trained as a chef in Canada, France, and Japan. He has served as a personal chef for Madonna, Tobey Maguire, Sting, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Keenan Ivory Wayans.
PETA held the contest to inspire chefs to create the first gourmet, purely vegan foie gras. In order to produce foie gras--French for "fatty liver"--workers use metal pipes to pump several pounds of grain and fat into the stomachs of ducks and geese every day. As a result, birds' livers swell to up to 10 times their normal size, and the animals become sick and are often unable to move. The pipes often puncture birds' throats, causing severe injuries. Kate Winslet recently narrated PETA's video expose of the foie gras industry.
"Foie gras is made by ramming tubes down the throats of ducks and geese," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, "With the availability of delectable and humane alternatives to foie gras, you can spare birds and spoil yourself."
Amanda Cohen, owner and chef of New York's Dirt Candy restaurant, won the top prize of $10,000 with her mushroom mousse. The third-place prize went to Vincent Moellman, a student at the Art Institute of California-Orange County. His 10K Vegan Faux Gras is now on the menu at the institute's student-run restaurant, 50 Forks.
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