Pork Switch Leaves Bad Taste
San Jose, Calif. / Feb.
25, 2000 (Reuters) -- The district attorney's office is investigating a case of
haute cuisine high jinks in which a top chef has admitted serving pork in the
guise of veal because he felt the high-priced meat was too tough.
Gary Kjolhaug, chef at
the fashionable Bella Mia restaurant, told the San Jose Mercury News earlier this
week that he has been making the switch for the past five years because pork resulted
in a superior scaloppini and parmigiana.
"I don't know where
it's going to go," Kjolhaug said. "I'm leaving it in God's hands."
Restaurant owner Bill Carlson,
who was unaware of the swap, has suspended the chef but the Santa Clara County
district attorney is now investigating allegations of false representation.
"We wouldn't be doing
an investigation if we didn't have something," Al Bender, chief of the district
attorney's Consumer Protection Unit, told the paper on Thursday.
The restaurant tried to
contain the situation by hiring a publicity firm and contacting local synagogues
in efforts to apologize to people whose religion prevents them from eating pork.
The restaurant has also
removed veal from the menu and will compensate customers who were fed the faux
"I am surprised that
I didn't know about it sooner than this," Carlson told the local radio. "I
am offering compensation to anyone who believes they ate one of those veal dishes."
Some took the switch in
their stride but others were not satisfied with the offer of a free meal.
Narjes Misherghi, president
of the Islamic Society of Stanford University, said patrons, especially those
with dietary restrictions due to religious beliefs, should sue Bella Mia.
"When you go to a
restaurant, there is a basic trust that you will get what you ask for," she
told the Mercury News. "That trust has been broken."