Anti-Foie Gras Types Fight Dirty

Hypocrite, n. One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises.                    
--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Chris Consentino and Mark Pastore's taking on of the anti-foie gras jihadis, posted here, took more stones than you might know.

In 2003, San Francisco chef Laurent Manrique and two partners were in the process of opening a "gourmet" foods store in the wine country town of Sonoma (where I lived for several years). Among the foods they were planning to sell were several preparations of foie gras, as one of the partners owned Sonoma Foie Gras farm. For some reason, this small shop in a historic building in downtown Sonoma, called Sonoma Saveur, attracted the attention of a particularly bat-rabid species of animal rights activists.

Here's what happened.

Person or persons unknown (they never have been caught) broke into the still unopened shop, filled sinks and toilets with cement, spray painted slogans all over and turned on the taps, flooding the shop and two adjacent ones and causing an estimated $50,000 in damages.  They also attacked Manrique's home and that of his other partner, Didier Jaubert. They splashed acid on their cars, splashed red paint on their houses, spray painted more slogans ("Murderer" and "Go home" -- both Manrique and Jaubert are French), and glued locks and garage doors shut.

Now it gets really creepy.

A couple days later, Manrique received a videocassette (remember those?) in the mail. It was shot from his garden (which was also vandalized) and showed him and his wife and child relaxing in their house. With it was a message, "Stop the foie gras or you will be stopped."

Now, I know Laurent Manrique. He's an extraordinarily talented chef (the Moroccan-spiced tuna tartar he used to serve at Aqua is still one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth), a practicing Buddhist, generous with his time and efforts, and a really good guy. And he and his family were scared shitless.

You gotta love the ethics of people who do stuff like that. May they choke on their tofu.

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