I received a note yesterday from Pascal Sauton that he was no longer involved with Carafe, the French bistro on Market street across from the Keller Auditorium.
Pascal says “as far as he knows the restaurant will stay open”, but that he “has no idea what direction it will take”. He is going to “take a little break and pursue some interests I’ve had for a while”.
From an email sent to friends,
“Over the past 7 and half years, it has been a pleasure to operate this restaurant. We had many successes and many challenges, as do all businesses. But in the end, I want to thank all of you who have supported this venture, as well as the many employees who have worked very hard to make Carafe what it was.”
Born and trained in France, with cooking sojourns in New York to South America, Sauton deliberately set down stakes in Portland, because, he says, “Oregon is a candy store for chefs.” Pascal is known for doing things his way without paying a lot of attention to what other people think. In 2006 he raised more than a few eyebrows with this letter to the animal rights organizations -
“Dear Animal Right Activist,
Thank you for stopping by at Carafe last Saturday and for filling out our comment cards. We appreciate that you took the time to express your opinion.
However, you have expressed it to the wrong people… You should have done a little bit of research before wasting your time. You see, we are probably the most stubborn people in this country’s restaurant industry! We love foie gras – it is delicious – and we love the people who produce it. They are passionate, respectful of the animals and very ethical in their way of producing it. We know: we visited the farm.
Just so you know, we will NEVER remove Foie Gras from our menu. We sell about 200 orders of it a month! There are too many people enjoying it who come to our restaurant just for that. The 8 comment cards you filled Saturday are the ONLY one I ever received in 3 years of business compared to hundreds we received to thank us for serving Foie Gras!
And we boil lobsters alive and serve oysters on the half shell too…
You are wasting your time here and you are not welcomed in our restaurant. The more publicity you create about Foie Gras, the more we sell. You do me a favor!”
“Long Live Foie Gras!”
Pascal has been quite active over the years in fundraising for many organizations such as OBT and Portland Opera. His name frequently comes up in connection with these activities. In 2010 he recieved a Hearo in the Arts Award from the BCA. If you ever get a chance, buy him a drink – he’s a great guy.