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An education in liver: Foie gras 'museum' to open Friday

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Foie Gras Ban.jpg

Didier Durand promised Chicago a foie gras museum, and now he's making good on his word.

"Museum" might be a stretch, but that's what Durand is calling the collection of posters, photos and memorabilia adorning a portion of his restaurant, Cyrano's, 546 N. Wells.

The irrepressible Frenchman was one of the faces of a chef-led campaign to overturn the city's short-lived ban on foie gras a few years back. Indeed, the ban was repealed in 2008, and damned if Durand is going to let anyone forget.

"The ban was repealed May 14, but June 11 was the actual date when we could serve foie gras again," says Durand (who, along with a handful of chefs, never really stopped serving the French delicacy -- he just cleverly called it something else on the menu).

Last year, he created Foie Gras Week to coincide with that date. Several restaurants offered $10 foie gras specials.

This year, Foie Gras Week runs from Friday through June 19. Participating restaurants include Oceanique in Evanston and Hemmingway's Bistro in Oak Park. In addition, Durand will offer renditions of some of his chef friends' foie recipes, including a terrine with strawberry-rhubarb jam from Michael Tsonton, another force to be reckoned with back in the ban's heyday.

The only other foie gras museum Durand is aware of is in Frespech, France. He's knows this because he was there on a fact-finding (and memorabilia-buying) mission in February.

His museum "is kind of closure for me," Durand says. "Now, there's more and more demand for foie gras. I'm not a Musketeer, but I achieved what I wanted to."

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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