Philippe Chow’s people tell us that he’s banning shark-fin soup at his restaurants and urging other Asian restaurants to do the same. (Mako sharks are listed by the World Wildlife Federation as one of the ten most endangered species, along with Beluga sturgeon.) The timing is a little curious — in a recent Guardian rant, Jay Rayner called Nobu owner Richie Notar “spineless” for keeping bluefin on the menu at the insistence of his sushi chefs, albeit (in the case of its London restaurants) with an asterisk suggesting that diners ask for an alternative since the fish is “environmentally challenged.” So is Philippe trying to out-green Nobu, or trying to avoid a similar imbroglio? (The restaurant was on a list of offenders circulated by the Animal Welfare Institute.) Philippe had previously tried to source sharks in “the most environmentally friendly manner” possible, but as the foie-gras demonstrations proved, sometimes that’s just not good enough.
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