Didier Durand, the animated French chef perhaps best known for his opposition to the city's short-lived foie gras ban, is running for mayor.
Well, he wants to anyway. He was trying to. Sort of.
In a newsletter e-mailed over the weekend, Durand announced he was running as a write-in candidate. He described his platform ("Good food makes people happy") and that he'd set up a website, chefdidierformayor.com (half of which looks legit).
So I had to ask: Are you serious, Chef?
"If I was able to repeal the foie gras ban, then I can take care of the city," Durand told me by phone this morning. "I'm neither Democrat nor Republican. I'm from the foie gras party. I don't think I'll be elected, at least this time. But I really believe good food makes people happy."
Durand said that because all of his relatives are in France, "I won't put any of my family on the city payroll." Other pet projects: "School food, making sure we put tables all across the city in the parks for people to eat. Also, I will do something about the cigarette butts everywhere."
"The next mayor should be a foodie just like Mayor Daley."
There is but one snafu: Durand has missed the deadline for write-in candidates. "I'm not sure if there's more paperwork to be done," he acknowledged when I asked him if he was officially on the ballot.
Indeed, Dec. 23 was the deadline for write-in candidates to file their notice of intent, says Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. (Candidates originally on the ballot who were kicked off have until tomorrow to file.) Allen had no such paperwork from Durand.
"This souffle is half-baked," Allen said, chuckling. "Or whatever euphemism you want to use."
And so: a call back to Durand, who was unperturbed and only slightly confused.
"Anybody who wants to write me in, they can do that at the bottom, I think," he said.
Don't be surprised then if, after your meal at Cyrano's Bistrot, Durand's River North restaurant, the chef asks you to do just that. While you're at it, ask him about the cookbook he's writing on the gastronomy of Bergerac, his hometown in France. He's working on it. Really, he is.