Kim Côté, a chef in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, has been the target of death threats of late. All because of a hamburger.
The 'Phoque Bardot Burger' costs $18 but has been worth a lot more than that in free publicity. The tongue-in-cheek burger, a concoction of seal (or phoque, in French) and foie gras, was put on the menu in 2012 to denounce the European Union's embargo on seal products from Canada. The actress Brigitte Bardot, of course, is as famous for her environmental crusades, most notably against traditional Inuit seal hunts, as for any of her films.
This all went under the radar until a French tourist who is part of a Facebook group with more than 400,000 followers recently saw the menu item at Côté's restaurant, Côté-Est, in Kamouraska. The tourist posted her displeasure over the seal burger and the chef and restaurant were swiftly inundated with threats. The Sûreté du Québec was contacted but no official complaint has been filed.
Côté, a hunter himself, says that those who vociferously campaign against the seal hunt are misinformed and have antiquated notions about what it entails. The chef is quick to point out that baby seals, for example, so prevalent in environmental propaganda, have been prohibited from being targeted since 1987.
After a temporary stoppage, Côté-Est's Facebook page is back up. The 'Phoque Bardot Burger' is still on the menu.
This incident comes several years after Plateau bistro Au Cinquième Péché, and others, made The New York Times for their kitchen experiments with seal meat.
· Burger de phoque: une blague sur Bardot tourne au vinaigre [Le Soleil]
· Un burger controversé [Radio-Canada]
· Canadian Chefs Serve Seal, With a Side of Controversy [NYT]