When vegan protesters gathered outside Toronto’s Antler Kitchen & Bar on Friday with a banner reading “Murderer” and chants of “you’ve got blood on your hands,” the owner responded by carving a deer leg inside the front window of his restaurant.
The Globe & Mail reports chef and owner Michael Hunter—seriously his name—felt he had to respond to the protesters, who’d shown up at his restaurant a few times before.
“They’re offending us; I’m going to offend them,” he told Globe & Mail. “So I went and got a deer leg.”
Hunter is himself a hunter, but he doesn’t personally kill the wild game he uses at his restaurant. He’s known for making the most of the animal—using as much of it as possible to make terrines, charcuterie, etc.—but won’t apologize for eating and serving meat. Antler does also serve vegetarian dishes, some of it made from foraged ingredients.
According to CTV News, protesters were stunned when Hunter brought out the deer leg.
“We were in shock,” Mari Ugar, an organizer of the protest, told CTV News. “It’s just an animal, and we felt sad. For me, I felt sad for a few days after seeing that.”
Ugar said she became familiar with Antler in December when she noticed a sandwich-board sign outside the restaurant reading: “Venison is the new kale.” She read up on Antler and took issue with the restaurant’s use of the term wild game and the fact that it serves foie gras, which she says is unethical. She decided to create Friday’s protest, obviously not expecting the deer leg carving.
Half an hour after Hunter took the deer back to the kitchen, Ugar told CTV News, he returned to the table and ate a plate of it in front of protesters.