Foie Gras Is Back. Here’s One Local Culinary Director’s Take

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | 11:52 pm

Foie gras is back. The duck liver pate, banned for years due to animal cruelty concerns but loved for its luxurious texture, is now available in California restaurants again.

We spoke with Culinary Director of the Pasadena Dog Haus Michael Brown to find out his reactions to the lift and to hear if he has plans to incorporate the ingredient into his menu.

What do you think about the choice to lift the ban on foie gras in California?

I think it was a great move. California has become a destination for fine dining, just as much as New York, Miami or Chicago. Foie gras is a staple of fine dining, in my opinion, and now we get to put it on our menus again! Even fast casual restaurants like Dog Haus are getting in on the action! As long as the production of foie is regulated and the practices are humane, I’m all for it.

Do you see yourself incorporating foie gras into your menu more regularly in the future?

When we create new dishes at Dog Haus, we execute exciting flavor combinations for our customers to try, and if those items do well, they will eventually make it on the menu.

Can you remember the first time you tried foie gras?

When I first started cooking, I wasn’t a big fan of liver. I had tried in the past like calf or chicken, but I never tried foie gras. When it appeared on the menu at Pinot Bistro, and I was responsible for cooking it, I had to learn not only how to handle it and season it, but also how to put a proper sear on it. That’s when I fell in love with foie gras. Then I was taught how to make torchons and other fun preparations of the liver. I still think you can’t beat a beautiful seared piece of foie gras.

To those who have never tried the delicacy—why should you try foie gras and where?

I believe people should be adventurous when they go out to eat. Try something new! Foie gras has such a great flavor and mouth feel, it’s something everyone should experience in his lifetime. I would suggest they have their first taste of foie gras prepared by one of LA’s super talented chefs like Walter Manzke at Republique, Neal Fraser at Red Bird, or Bruce Kalman at Union. [link to Bruce Kalman Union article]

What’s a classic foie gras dish “beginners” should look for?

What made the first foie gras experience for me really memorable, and kept me coming back, was a beautiful lobe of foie generously seasoned and seared to perfection. Paired with something sweet like quince or figs helped balance the fattiness, and made the dish multi-dimensional. Spread some of that love on an awesome piece of grilled bread, and you are on your way to being a foie lover!

Visit Dog Haus to try their interesting flavor combinations soon!

Dog Haus is located at 93 E. Green St. Pasadena and 105. N. Hill Ave. Pasadena. For information, call (626) 577-4287, 683-0808, or visit

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