Italian chef Carlo Cracco has come under fire for cooking a pigeon on his show Masterchef Italia, in an episode that aired on 14 January 2016.
The Guardian reports that the two Michelin star chef has been accused of breaking the law, due to an EU directive that has deemed the poaching of protected birds illegal. The urban pigeon (Columba livia technically), though not considered ‘threatened’ is protected under the Birds Directive.
According to The Guardian, Lorenzo Croce, head of the animal welfare group the Italian Association for the Defence of Animals and the Environment (Aidaa) has called Cracco “a great chef”, saying that does not excuse the fact that he committed a “criminal act”.
No one disputes that Carlo Cracco is a great chef, but the fact that he goes on TV to present a dish of pigeon meat – that is, an animal protected by national and European law, is a criminal act that we could not ignore.
The celebrated chef has angered Aidaa further, by allegedly inciting people who watch his show to cook pigeon and break the law.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the 50-year-old celebrity chef cooked “piccione a modo mio”, aka “pigeon my way”, and the other judges Bruno Barbieri and Joe Bastianich called the dish made with turnips “perfection”.
The Guardian has also noted that the matter will have to be looked into further as it wasn’t made clear how Cracco got the pigeon and what kind of pigeon he ended up cooking. Because of these facts, not everyone thinks the chef is guilty. President of the regional council of Veneto, Roberto Ciambetti, has stated that the law does not include pigeons that have been bred for consumption.
Cracco has his own restaurant called Ristorante Cracco in Milan and has been called “a pioneer in progressive Italian cuisine”, according the The Telegraph.