Somewhere in Los Angeles is a dinner club for cannibals, begun in 2007, where those who pride themselves on being “enlightened,” dine on “cuisine” of human meat prepared by their in-house chef.
On Cannibal Club‘s homepage is this Henry Miller quote and a drawing of a woman (Eve?) about to bite into the forbidden apple.
This is how Cannibal Club describes itself and flatters its cannibal clients:
Specializing in the preparation of human meat, Cannibal Club brings the cutting edge of experimental cuisine to the refined palates of L.A.’s cultural elite. Our master chefs hail from around the world for the opportunity to practice their craft free of compromise and unbounded by convention.
Our exclusive clientele includes noted filmmakers, intellectuals, and celebrities who have embraced the Enlightenment ideals of free expression and rationalism. On event nights, avant-garde performance artists, celebrated literary figures, and ground-breaking musicians entertain our guests.
At Cannibal Club, we celebrate artistic excellence as the natural and inevitable expression of the unbridled human spirit. [Blah, blah, blah]
Chef de Cuisine Sophie Laffite regularly updates our menu with new and daring culinary experiments. The meat we serve is selected from the young and healthy. Consistent with the practice of cannibalism in many primitive societies, we view anthropophagy as homage to the dead, who are reborn into the bodies of their consumers. Each dish, therefore, is a study in taste and elegance.
And here’s Cannibal Club’s menu for this week:
- Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce: “A delicious meat sauce made from fresh heirloom tomatoes, served over multigrain penne noodles.”
- Sirloin Steak: “A flame-broiled 8oz sirloin steak seasoned with fresh garlic, sautéed onions, and our in-house Worcestershire sauce.”
- Liver and Mushroom Pirozhi: “A Russian version of pierogies, baked rather than boiled, with a savory filling of wild mushrooms and liver.”
- Placenta Lasagna: “An otherwise traditional lasagna with one layer of cheese substituted by minced placenta in heirloom tomato sauce, seasoned with garlic, onion and oregano.”
- Mrs. Lovett’s Meat Pies: “A delectable pot pie in a genuine puff pastry crust with locally-grown vegetables and tender strips of meat.”
A document uploaded to ScribD on January 10, 2018, claims to be Cannibal Club’s “November VIP list,” which names Chelsea Clinton, CNN’s openly homosexual anchor Anderson Cooper, actress Meryl Streep of the snake tongue, and pop singer Katy Perry (who admitted she’d sold her soul to the Devil, and whose recent single “Bon Appétit” is about cannibalism) as its VIP diners.
From Cannibal Club’s FAQ page:
- What does human flesh taste like?: “When prepared by us, unbelievable. Of the meats you are likely to find in stores, pork is the closest match.”
- Where do you get your specialty meat?: “Our avenues of procurement vary. Most of the businesses and institutions who supply us prefer to keep those relationships discreet. On the individual level, bodies are often bequeathed to us. For some, this is a way to supplement life insurance and offset funerary expenses. For others, such as Cannibal Club member Gwendoline Fenwich, who was served to her friends and relatives at the Club in January of 2008, being prepared as a meal, and thereby reborn into the bodies of the living, is an attractive alternative to the more traditional practices of burial and cremation. We take considerable care to ensure that all our meat is produced legally and ethically, and derived only from young, healthy bodies.”
- Isn’t cannibalism wrong?: “Cannibalism, as traditionally practiced, usually shows respect to the deceased, who is desired to be reborn into the living, or offered as a worthy sacrifice to some deity. It is never our practice to debase or objectify human life. Arguments against cannibalism are typically grounded in ignorance, cultural prejudice, and nonsensical spiritual beliefs.”
- Doesn’t cannibalism cause disease?: “Prion diseases of the nervous system, such as kuru, are associated with the consumption of brain tissue, which is not part of our menu.”
- What is your address? I want to visit!: “Introduce yourself through our contact page and we will send you information about our membership process. It is necessary for us to operate privately and to vette our members in order to avoid disruption from the less enlightened.”
These are the club’s four staff members, whose names most likely are not their real names. I can’t find three of the staff — Blake, Laffite and Connors — using two paid-subscription people-search engines — TruthFinder and Spokeo:
(1) Elspeth Blake, proprietor:
“Elspeth Blake earned her wings in New York’s theatre district, working directly under the famed restaurateur Vincent Sardi, Jr. She moved to L.A. in 1997, where she gathered the talent and investment capital to open Cannibal Club in 2007.”
“Sophie Laffite gained notoriety in culinary circles when she prepared ortalan, an endangered bird thought to represent the soul of France, for the last meal of President François Mitterrand in 1996.”
I searched for “Sophie Laffite President François Mitterrand” and found nothing.
Ortolan (not ortalan) is a rare bird in the bunting family, found in warm parts of Europe, especially the south of France, Italy, Spain and Greece. Killing and cooking ortolans is banned across the EU. In 2014, a group of leading French chefs lobbied the French Government to partially reverse the ban on killing and cooking ortolans. They say they want the right to cook the bird, even if it is only for one weekend of the year.
Eight days before François Mitterrand died from prostate cancer on January 8, 1996, he dined on a last supper of 30 local Marennes oysters, foie gras and capon, washed down with Sauternes and local red wine, before moving on to two ortolans. (The Telegraph)
(3) Hero Conners, art director:
“A composer and concept artist, Hero Conners left a teaching position at UC-Berkeley in 2000 amid a storm of controversy following a rather graphic political statement he made on issue of nuclear proliferation.”
I searched for “Hero Connors U.C. Berkeley” and found nothing.
(4) Raven Chan, service manager:
“Raven Chan worked with Elspeth Blake and Vincent Sardi, Jr. in New York before travelling to L.A. with Blake to start Cannibal Club. As Service Manager, she handles the daunting task of procuring our specialty meats.”
Given Chan’s Chinese ethnicity, one can’t help but wonder if she procures Cannibal Club’s “specialty meats” from China, where aborted babies are made into soup. (See “Made in China: Aborted babies soup“)
According to the two people-search engines, there is a “Raven T. Chan”, age 25, who was born in October 1992 and lives in an apartment in Long Beach, CA. But it’s anybody’s guess if “Raven T. Chan” of Long Beach is actually service manager Raven Chan, who procures the human meat for Cannibal Club. I doubt it.
Remember how Cannibal Club boasts of its “event nights” when guests are entertained by “avant-garde performance artists, celebrated literary figures, and ground-breaking musicians”?
The club’s “ground-breaking musician” this month is Diamanda Galas, who performs on Friday and Saturday nights.
She is described as a “famed avant-garde performance artist, composer, keyboardist, and vocalist” who is touted by musicologist Susan McClary as “capable of the most unnerving vocal terror” and heralding “a new moment in the history of musical representation.” Galas’ works, which have appeared in mainstream films as Natural Born Killers and Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, focus “on themes of suffering, injustice and despair” and “are characterized by visceral shrieks and wails reminiscent of glossolalia” or speaking in tongues.
According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute:
In the United States, there are no laws against cannibalism per se, but most, if not all, states have enacted laws that indirectly make it impossible to legally obtain and consume the body matter. Murder, for instance, is a likely criminal charge, regardless of any consent. Further, even if someone consents to being eaten and kills himself, the cannibal may still be liable for criminal or civil actions based on laws governing the abuse or desecration of a corpse, which vary from state to state.