Union’s Head Chef Bruce Kalman on Foie Gras Ban Lift

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | 9:42 pm

Foie gras is legal again in California, and you know what that means—chefs and restaurant owners excitedly scrambling to get their foie gras dishes back in the menu. Bruce Kalman, head chef of Union Pasadena, is one of these chefs set to get reunited with foie gras. Pasadena Now sat down with him for an exclusive interview.

Pasadena Now: Do you plan on incorporating foie gras into your menu more regularly now? Or will you simply whip up a quick special?

Bruce Kalman: We’re going to add it onto the menu. I think the first thing I’m going to do is make the foie gras tureen that I haven’t made in a really long time. It’s a fantastic recipe, and I haven’t really worked up a dish yet but I’m sure it’s going to involve some of my pickles and some fresh greens. I’m really excited about it.

Pasadena Now: Can you remember the first time that you tried foie gras? Was it like some revelation for you?

Bruce Kalman: Yeah, it was. The first time I tried foie gras was when I was working at Park Avenue Café with David Burke in New York. We always had foie gras sometimes there. I remember we did a tasting menu, and the first course was always a flan baked inside an eggshell, and that was the first time I had it. I remember it was corn flan and then it was topped with sautéed foie gras with Port wine braised in walnut. It was pretty good.

Pasadena Now: Wow! We’ve always imagined foie gras to be traditional, but we keep hearing about unusual recipes like foie gras cotton candy.

Bruce Kalman: Yeah. I was in Portland last week and I had a really great foie gras parfait with apple jelly at Lincoln Restaurant.

Pasadena Now: For some of us who’ve never tried foie gras before, where should we go to try it and what should we look for?

Bruce Kalman: You should come to Union. Foie gras is a very tricky ingredient. It’s rich, and it should be very silky and very soft. If it tastes like liver, then it was overcooked. It also needs a lot of acid and sweetness to counter its richness.

Union Restaurant is located at 37 E. Union Street Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 795-5841 or visit http://www.unionpasadena.com

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