A Quebec restaurateur says he's receiving death threats over a controversial seal-meat burger with a cheeky name he started serving more than a year ago.
Kim Côté, the chef-owner of Bistro Côté-Est in Kamouraska, Que., told the CBC he introduced The Phoque Bardot, an $18 seal burger with foie gras on it, in 2012. Its name plays on the French word for seal, "phoque," which is pronounced like a less cuddly word in English, and the name of former actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot. Bardot is militant in her opposition of the Canadian seal hunt and in past years she's called for a boycott on Canadian maple syrup.
The burger went unnoticed for a while, but a posting about the burger to an French animal rights group on Facebook flared anger among members, who sent messages threatening to damage the restaurant and even kill him, according to the CBC. The Facebook posting said the burger was made of baby seals, though Côté noted to Eater that it's illegal to hunt baby seals. He said his seal meat, on the other hand, is inspected and legal.
[ Related: Woman dislocates jaw trying to eat massive burger ]
The other ingredient in The Phoque Bardot, foie gras, brought another Quebecois chef trouble when he put it on the menu for Ottawa's Winterlude festival in 2011. Animal rights activists protested the menu by Montreal chef Martin Picard, saying force-feeding ducks to soften their livers and produce foie gras is cruel. Picard backed out of the festival rather than remove the dish.
Another, far less provocative word on a menu provoked consequences for another Quebec restaurant earlier this year: pasta. You might be tempted to say pasta isn't an offensive word — but Quebec's language office says you're wrong. The Montreal restaurant Buonanotte boiled up controversy by writing 'pasta' and other words only in English or Italian, not in French as the province's language laws require, according to CTV, prompting a letter from the government.
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