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Cyrano's chef Didier Durand grew up in Bergerac, in southwest France, where his maman raised ducks and used the whole bird for foie gras, magret, and confit. For him fighting the city's foie gras ban isn't a matter of economics or publicity--it's personal. As spokesman for Chicago Chefs for Choice, the shock troops in the Illinois Restaurant Association's legal battle to end the ban, he organized a series of benefits last summer to raise funds, netting $12,000 to pay the lawyers. They tell him it'll cost almost $250,000 to fight City Hall, but say the City (i.e., you and me) will run up almost twice as much defending the unenforceable.
Now he's hosting round two of a series of foie-centered events at the restaurant, featuring the contributions of (so far) 42 chefs. Monday, January 22, is a $79 "hors d'oeuvres fantasy" with snacks from Cafe Matou, Emilio's, A Tavola, Pastoral, and others. The following night there's a $99 grazing with tastes from Allen's, Nomi, and oddly, the Billy Goat's Sam Sianis, and more. Sunday, January 28, is a $139 dinner and gala prepared by Courtright's, Aria, Bittersweet, Graham Elliot Bowles from Avenues, and fellow lawbreaker Michael Tsonton from Copperblue. Finally, two nights before the election is a six-course extravaganza featuring dishes from Cafe Le Coq, Mas, Bin 36, the Four Seasons, and the Twisted Spoke, with a side of Hot Doug's duck fat fries. Don Gordon, one of Joe Moore's opponents in the race for 49th Ward alderman, will be stumping at each event.
"The world is laughing at us," says Durand. "These fundraisers will make Chicagoans aware of our misfortune. I feel Julia Child is calling on me to educate the consumer."
Call 312-467-0546 for reservations.