Wichita chef Jason Febres says he didn't mean to offend anyone when he added lion meat to an exotic, $160-a-plate dinner. But the loud voices of the Internet clamoring for his restaurant, Taste & See, to take lion meat off the menu won out, reports the Wichita Eagle.
On his Facebook page Friday night, Febres wrote: “We did took a second look ... and realized that yes, it can be a little shocking and disturbing for some people. ... I did felt touched and didn’t mean to offend anybody so I decided to make it right and substitute the Lion course.”
A Change.org petition garnered more than 10,500 signatures (up from 3,800 when we wrote about the issue Friday), and animal rights group Born Free USA also complained loudly. Febres said the groups were spreading misinformation about the origins of the lion meat; he said the lions are raised on an American farm, not the African plains.
The dinner, set for Tuesday is sold out. And while lion meat is no longer on the menu, diners will still get to try Scottish wild hare, Indian alpaca, Australian crocodile and African water buffalo and antelope.
As we continue to get lots of ballots in our Best of Lawrence contest, one category we didn't have was Best Place to Eat Lion. In Wichita, that place is Taste & See, a Latin-fusion joint that is offering an exotic, $160-per-person eight-course dinner later this month featuring a zoo of meats.
There's Scottish wild hare; alpaca from India; Aussie crocodile; water buffalo from Africa; kangaroo loin; African antelope, and the reason you're reading this, African lion.
It's like an alternate ending to a snuff-film version of "Madagascar." And, not surprisingly, Chef Jason Febres is taking some heat.
A Change.org petition calling for Febres and Taste & See to cancel the dinner has garnered more than 3,800 signatures. The restaurant was forced to take down its Facebook page after it was inundated with angry comments.
The petition claims eating lion meat is wrong - though not illegal - and a health risk. It complains the restaurant won't share where the lions are coming from. Febres says they're from a farm in the U.S.
Febres told local media that had he known there would be such backlash, he wouldn't have proposed the dinner.
"It's a special dining experience for people," Febres told KWCH. "For people to just try something else that they haven't had a chance to eat."