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Wendy’s launches foie gras burger…in Japan

Credit: Wendy's Japan

Credit: Wendy's Japan

I’m just not sure what to think of this one.

It was announced this week that Wendy’s is re-launching in Japan, with plans to open over 100 restaurants within the next five years, and to eventually expand to up to 700 stores. But this isn’t your American neighborhood Wendy’s.

No, in addition to unique menu items like the Avocado Wasabi hamburger and Truffle and Porcini Grilled Chicken sandwich, Wendy’s Japan will also sling a sixteen dollar foie gras hamburger.

Yes, foie gras. At Wendy’s.

While the foodie in me wants to applaud a fast food restaurant for going outside of the box and incorporating higher end ingredients into their menu, the idea of any institution that mass-produces food adding foie gras to their menu gives me pause.

Before you jump to conclusions, I’m not against foie gras. I love it. But I am against the irresponsible production of foie gras, and if demand for it gets such a global jump start it is almost inevitable that corners will be cut to meet it at a price point that can be sustained by a fast-food restaurant. Despite my strong opinions on that delicious meat butter, even I am hesitant to condone this. As a proponent of smaller scale, responsible foie gras production, even mentioning the word “fast food” in the same sentence makes me worry that the standards of production are only going to backslide. Not to mention, it probably won’t taste as good.

Cheap foie gras is like cheap sushi – no thanks.

What about you? Do you think that this is an example of an innovation, or does mass-produced foie give you the willies too?

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

40 comments Add your comment

Bubb

December 30th, 2011
9:51 am

You’re right.

Yes

December 30th, 2011
10:09 am

Any production of foie gras gives me the willies, as do the selfish people who consume foie gras. But, what’s massive animal cruelty if it gives you a bit of pleasure?

Scott Allen

December 30th, 2011
10:32 am

I realize this blog is intended for serious food Aficionados (never liked the term “foodie”), so I hesitate to mention the absolute cruelty involved in the production of “fatty liver”, which is the translation of the prettier French term “Foie Gras”. I’ll spare the preaching and anyone so interested can simply google the term and get all of the background. John, to answer your question, yes–a case if the willies and absolute revulsion at the thought.

David H

December 30th, 2011
10:39 am

I love animals, which is precisely why I eat them. Foie gras is wonderful, and I’m grateful to Wendy’s for giving California natives a bad case of hives, just thinking about the horrible injustice being inflicted on those poor geese. I might point out to them that geese are both green, natural, and most certainly sustainable, at least in my part of the world. We must insure for the greater good, fatty, succulent goose livers are also a sustainable resource. You nut cases don’t like it, enjoy your hormone drenched tofu burgers. It might be worth a trip to Japan to enjoy one. Besides, would you prefer whale meat in your hamburger?

Roekest

December 30th, 2011
10:45 am

Yes David, I do prefer whale meat. Add to that dolphins, puppies, and humans. Especially puppies. Mmm…..puppies.

Ana Logy

December 30th, 2011
10:46 am

I worked for Wendys for 15 years in corporate, not in the stores and if you knew what was in their burgers and how they recycle their cooking oil you wouldnt eat there. I dont!

Kalex

December 30th, 2011
10:48 am

I agree with you.

Blake

December 30th, 2011
10:57 am

Damn, Ana, that makes me sad. Based on the taste compared to other fast-food burgers (i.e. McD’s, BK, Checkers), I had thought Wendy’s was a cut above. Never mind then … Five Guys all the way it is. And Jon, I agree, mass-produced foie gras is madness (and of course a reasonable case can be made against foie gras, period, but I won’t rehash that).

JimmyZ

December 30th, 2011
11:06 am

what’s this here Phooey Grassy stuff? Sounds kinda gross. Thanks to Ana I’m going to have to chance my lunch plans today… anybody up for the Varsity, or should I just stop by the QT and grab a couple of corn dogs?

Wend--less

December 30th, 2011
11:11 am

A sign the Apocalypse is near…………………

VinnyD

December 30th, 2011
11:11 am

Just like mass produced sushi, NO THANKS

Billie

December 30th, 2011
11:27 am

John, is this another practical joke like your Burger of the Week column? So bizarre I don’t even know where to start with the rant. . .

DLink

December 30th, 2011
11:32 am

A class-action lawsuit filed by an Alabama law firm alleges that only 36 percent of the substance Taco Bell markets as “seasoned beef” or “seasoned ground beef” actually contains meat. The rest of the “filling,” according to the complaint, is made up of “substances other than beef.”

I think this is the point. ’nuff said.

Maureen

December 30th, 2011
11:40 am

I read about this when I read a recipe for beef wellington. I was horrified. I don’t eat veal because of the inhumane treament of the calf and would never consider eating this. I made an excellent beef wellington, Emril, without foie gras.

DLink

December 30th, 2011
11:43 am

More cheese product on your burger? Some crab leg product.. MMMmmm? Foie gras product is just a matter of time. Did you know Lobster was known as a sea-spider back in the depression? Fisherman would give them to the poor in anonymous bags, because they couldn’t sell them at the market.

Delicious escargot. The list goes on, it’s marketing. It’s food, give it an appealing name and sustenance is provided. I eat anything besides human, and that’s just because of bad marketing – I mean, Soylent Green??

pb

December 30th, 2011
11:46 am

Ana Logy:

So you have inside information that what is in Wendy’s Burgers? Or are you just trying to be funny or make trouble? Their burgers taste no worse, in fact may be better, than other fast food burgers. I don’t know about the content of their burgers, but don’t make up un- founded rumors about their contents.

RichardL

December 30th, 2011
11:55 am

If the “Foie Gras” burger turns out to be a quarter pounder, then it would be a great buy at twice the price that is going to be charged. And what is wrong with force feeding the goose with cracked corn anyway. The goose is gonna’ be slaughtered anyway so might as well get something good out of the bird.

Old Boy

December 30th, 2011
11:57 am

I have often thought that a major fast food company could generate a lot of excitement with a ‘international burger of the month’ celebration to mark some event (Olympics, opening 10,000 stores, etc.). I have often enjoyed eating the local McDonald’s burger around the world (bulgoki burger, Iberian burger, etc.) and feel like it could be a huge generator of interest. The logistics of moving the material to a location for only a month would be difficult, but I think the added customers would make up for the extra supply chain costs.

Edward

December 30th, 2011
12:03 pm

RichardL: so because a sentient creature is going to be killed anyway, you think it is OK to inflict suffering and torture on them beforehand. As long as you’re satisfied, the ends justify the means?

JMO

December 30th, 2011
12:06 pm

I can only begin to imagine what else they would put in it. A cut above all the rest isn’t much. I hate these fast food places. Adulterated ingredients, low paid, poorly trained, careless employees with little supervision. I make my own tacos and I tried to figure out how Taco Bell could call so much of their ingredients “spices” and other stuff, lol. If I get a craving for a burger I cook one at home too. That slapped down, tasteless patty with rotting lettuce and tomato, looking nothing like the advertising photos…no thanks. Almost anyone who has ever worked at one has stories that would turn your stomach. Ok, to be fair this happens in any restaurant, as well as any part of the food industry chain. Slaughter houses are horrible. Cows and chickens, and hogs are treated horribly and those who contribute to that will pay for it sooner or later. I eat very little meat, and when I do, I thank the spirit of the animal. And if you don’t think they have spirits…then you have never known a cow or a chicken, or a pig, or a goat, or a goose, or a horse, or a dog, or a cat…they have a capacity to love far beyond us humans, and they do so freely, without expectations.

noelle

December 30th, 2011
12:23 pm

ducks have a gullet- force feeding them does not hurt them! They swallow whole fish.

noelle

December 30th, 2011
12:24 pm

Slaughter houses are not horrible- i have been to several. They are very humane.
Look up Temple Grandin.

TheAntiMe

December 30th, 2011
12:28 pm

I think that you misread that, Jon. What Wendy’s will actually be offering in Japan will be faux grass burgers. Instead of lettuce, Wendy’s will be using the same type of artificial turf found in football stadiums all across the US. The Japanese folks will just chalk it up to those crazy American’s love of burgers and all things football. :)

Bob

December 30th, 2011
12:40 pm

I worked for Wendy’s over 20 years ago in store operations for 11 years. Quality is absolutly the number 1 objective to everyone in the company. The meat is 100% pure , never frozen beef. Nothing is added to the product. Wendy’s even goes further than that. At one time, I was part of a team that inspected beef production facilities and they are held to the highest standard. Wendy’s is the only burger I will eat (besides making it at home). It is an excellent company that is now begining to expand internationally and I wish them the best of luck. Five guy’s does have a good burger, but inconsistant in service and quality. Wendy’s is absolutly the best product for the best price.

Randy

December 30th, 2011
12:42 pm

What a waste of good goose liver! I mean, seriously, as if you’d even begin to taste it above the grade D beef they proabably use. No thanks…I’ll take my foie gras straight. And geese be damned….force feed the little featherbound rats, string them up to tenderize and then gut them for the gourmets. All this namby-pamby whining about animals’ rights just makes me gag. If God didn’t want us to eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat!

bring that puppy to the ATL!!!

December 30th, 2011
1:03 pm

I’ll be having my traditional new year’s steak dinner again this year – Aged NY strips slathered in foie gras butter, haricot verts almondine, yukon gold potatoes mashed with rosemary, sour cream, and white pepper, with a fat bottle or three of Far Niente Cab. My wife married the right guy….

Go wendy’s!

: )

Grandma

December 30th, 2011
1:06 pm

I love liver…all but beef. I cook it quite often. However, I don’t think I could bring myself to eat it at a burger joint. I’m a “liver purist”. As for animal rights…we eat most every animal that roams the earth, except each other. Leave the foie gras to the talented chefs that know what they are doing. I don’t want some pimply faced kid making it. It takes a skill.

TheAntiMe

December 30th, 2011
1:14 pm

….force feed the little featherbound rats… All this namby-pamby whining about animals’ rights just makes me gag.

lol – Are you sure it’s not those rat’s livers that you are so fond of eating that is making you gag? :D

Heidi

December 30th, 2011
1:19 pm

I agree… it’s just wrong on so many levels.

Gretchen

December 30th, 2011
1:33 pm

I’d like to hear Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods would say about this :P

Rick E

December 30th, 2011
1:37 pm

What’s foie gras?

TheAntiMe

December 30th, 2011
1:59 pm

What’s foie gras?

Well, Rick E, foie gras is an intentionally fattened internal organ – liver, in this case – of a duck or goose. And you thought that the McRib was gross.

MikeHunt

December 30th, 2011
2:20 pm

I heard they were making the foie gras out of the Dave Thomas’s lower intestine. I bet it sells like crazy in Japan.

bluemoon

December 30th, 2011
2:20 pm

do the French still nail the goose’s feet to a board, and poke out their eyes, like they used to? the poor goose has nothing better to do than stand there and be force fed….

Randy

December 30th, 2011
2:35 pm

“do the French still nail the goose’s feet to a board, and poke out their eyes, like they used to?”

No, now they just cut off their wings and let them go. If they can outrun the butcher they’re safe…it’s all very sporting.

Sam

December 30th, 2011
2:48 pm

Considering the cost of living over there, saying that’s a $16 is a stretch. What does a regular hamburger cost? $10? During the Japanese recession of the 90’s I know it cost me $30 for a combo meal. Back then the dollar was worth over 200 Yen and todays rate seems to be 77 Yen. So if my math is right that is really a $5 hamburger.

Edward

December 30th, 2011
5:04 pm

Some people can justify anything, no matter how horrific or disgusting. They can even delude themselves into thinking it is all OK, no harm done.

bev

December 30th, 2011
6:17 pm

Enter your comments here

bev

December 30th, 2011
6:25 pm

I agree that any food produced in mass production will result in poorer quality; especially when the food comes from the same source. Look at McDonald’s for crying out loud – there eggs come from chicken coups that are infested in feces, and their beef isn’t USDA certified. There’s no telling what consumers are ingesting.

With that being said, I’m guilty of eating fast food, but I do refrain from eating certain items from certain chains. It would be so much easier to eat healthy and from smaller chains if they’d make it more convenient to purchase their food. I do like how certain restaurants have a parking spot for to-go orders and offer curbside service were they bring your order to you. It certainly helps with a newborn in tow.

bev

December 30th, 2011
6:26 pm

Correction – their eggs. lol