Foodies, food groupies, or foodniks. Quelle horreur! When I hear these terms, it makes me cringe. I’ve come to be repulsed by it, because nowadays it’s associated with “gourmand” or “epicure,” and while these are not negative terms, most actual foodies are now clearly associated with foie gras, pigs feet, octopus, sweetbreads (or offal), and of course, horsemeat.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying luxurious items or tasteful food. But people who tend to describe themselves as foodies are usually those same people who label themselves as members of a caste of society that is superior to the others. “I’m better than you because I’m more open-minded towards my food. I would never eat instant ramen like you.”
The more lives sacrificed for a dinner, the more impressive the eater. Aside from horsemeat, some of the cruelest meals consist of thirty duck hearts in curry, or ortolan, endangered songbirds fattened up, in pitch-dark cages, who by tradition, have their eyes put out before being force-fed for weeks and finally drowned in a snifter of brandy. The eating of these animals as well as non-food horses is amoral, callous, and profoundly self-absorbed. Such machismo coming out of an evening spent sitting in a goddamn chair….
The term foodie also implies that you’re dealing with a person who knows a lot about food in general. And if you’re a chef with a following of chef groupies, you’re going to look extra stupid when it becomes public knowledge that you really don’t know much about food after all. The attention lavished upon some chefs is unseemly. It sure doesn’t explain why People magazine dubbed Tom Colicchio one of 2007’s Sexiest Men Alive. (Sorry, but I just don’t see it.)
Chef Danny Mongeon, of the new horsemeat-serving resto “Hooch,” shall wear the badge of shame in this blog post. Mongeon became somewhat infamous (although his groupies claim he was already famous!) by declaring that he was introducing horse tartare at Hooch in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen.
“I did a lot of research on the farm where I’m sourcing from, La Petite Nation. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the horses. A lot of these people are telling me that we’re serving old race horses and all of this bad stuff, but I just ignored it because a lot of their sources were incorrect.” ~ Danny Mongeon
Here’s your meat still on the hoof at LPN, Chef Mongeon (Caution – Disturbing):
Operating under the assumption that LPN is a “farm” that apparently produces purpose-bred horses has just become problematic for Chef Mongeon. He just ran head first into the Canadian and American taboo against hippophagy. Secondly, Les Viandes de la Petite Nation is not a “farm,” it is a slaughterhouse which has been cited numerous times for cruelty and not following CFIA mandated slaughter methods. It is also the slaughterhouse that killed Frank Stronach’s racehorse, Backstreet Bully, despite the fact that his vet records were faxed to La Viandes de la Petite Nations showing he had illegal drugs in his system and that his previous owners and Stronach Racing were all willing to take him back. He ended up at LPN courtesy of a kill buyer falsifying his EID (Equine Information Document).
Mongeon, despite being informed to the contrary, absolutely refuses to acknowledge that these horses are mostly cast-off pets, discarded standardbred or thoroughbred race horses, mares in foal, summer camp horses, trail horses, Amish/Mennonite work/cart horses that have been worked into the ground. When facts from independent sources such as the Toronto Star and Latitude News were posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, he and his indie followers simply repeated the same derp over and over again. This discussion also moved to an Ottawa Foodie forum where horse advocates were harassed for promoting truthful dialogue. I wonder how many people would eat horsemeat if they were not lied to about its true origin and the veterinary residues it often contains?
Mongeon will NOT tell his patrons the truth about the horsemeat he serves. He and his groupies only respect those customs, traditions, beliefs, cultures—old and new, domestic and foreign—that call on them to eat more, not less, and without regard for where it is sourced. Mongeon’s claims about the happy LPN “farm” are meaningless. All that’s required to perpetuate his stupid unenlightened remarks are dull-headed food freaks to circulate the dogma. It’s time to hold chefs accountable for the misinformation they perpetuate about their food sources.
Part of what makes Mongeon’s claims about horses and LPN so obnoxious is that the Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding; the Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses, is not enforced. The CFIA does not enforce their own weak rules that slaughter bound horses must not be transported for longer than 36 hours straight and must be provided with feed, water and rest at required intervals. Double-decker trailers are still allowed in Canada. Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally. Horses, unlike most livestock, do not travel well. So, suffice it to say, they don’t always respond well when being transported from kill auctions in the U.S. to federally licensed slaughterhouses in Quebec and Alberta.
Since 2007, inspectors have been banned from the kill floor for their own safety, since the adoption of firearms has been implemented to stun animals, so their role is basically an administrative one now. So how could inspectors intervene when humane incidents have occurred, as revealed by a CBC probe and in undercover video by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition? I guess Danny Mongeon’s “research” just never uncovered any of these uncomfortable truths……
Apparently, there’s really no civilized value left that foodies or chefs cannot destroy.