Ramsay’s latest rant. A hot topic or just hot air?

May 9, 2008

gordonramsay.jpgChef Gordon Ramsay is never shy of courting controversy and he is back in the headlines again calling for restaurants to be fined if they sell out-of-season vegetables or fruit.

You could forgive the public for being confused when it comes to knowing where to eat, where to shop and what to buy.

Almost daily we are bombarded with conflicting information about whether food is healthy or not, or good or bad for the environment. For example, some groups say supermarkets should not give out free plastic bags (this week Marks and Spencer brought in a 5p charge), while other stores, such as Sainsbury’s say that is not the answer and will not bring lasting benefit to the environment.

Ramsay’s latest target is food flown in from abroad. “I don’t want to see asparagus in the middle of December,” he says. Most people over 30 can probably remember when a strawberry would never have been seen except during the British summer and the celebrity chef would like to see a return to the culture of eating home-grown produce.

What’s more, environmentalists argue that it is better for the planet, as according to the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, air freight emits more greenhouse gases per food mile than any other form of transport.

Ah, but what about the farmers in some of the poorest countries in the world who are producing the food for our supermarkets? That trade is vital to their wellbeing, with a million farmers and their families in Africa depending on it, according to the Department for International Development.

What’s more DFID says driving six and half miles to buy your shopping emits more carbon than flying a pack of Kenyan green beans to the UK. “Do we, in rich countries, help poor countries to trade their way out of poverty by buying their exports, or do we say no to air-freighting and buy local produce instead?,” DFID asks.

But then the champions of organic food, the Soil Association, argue that DFID has got it wrong and the government is being irresponsible.

So, is Ramsay just serving up a hot topic to help publicise his new TV show? Or is he right, and restaurants should be forced to use local produce?
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To be fair to Ramsey the guy knows what its on about hes one of the best chefs the UK has to offer and is known worldwide. If we can´t trust what Ramsey says, then who in the UK can we trust?

Posted by Bob Jobin | Report as abusive

To be to Ramsey he knows nothing about what he is going on about. How dare he call for restaurants that use imported food to be subject to the jackboot of Nanny State enforcing some ridiculous rule about “in season food”. The EU makes this slightly absurd, you can’t shut out produce from Greece, Spain and Romania.

He wants to impoverish farmers overseas, just like the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy featherbeds European farmers like no others and hurts overseas farmers by dumping subsidised produce on world markets and shutting out overseas produce from Europe. He’s talking economic nonsense and worse of all he’s just seeking an authoritarian restaurant regulatory system to control what people want.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

he just wants a “cause” to get behind. He saw what the school dinners did for Jamie Olivers popularity and whats a bit of that.

He couldn’t care less about his customers.

Posted by KG | Report as abusive

Bob Jobin – I think you are putting far too much trust into this Ramsay character. He is a foul mouthed, self important idiot, with a very wrinkly face, who appears to be generating a bit of publicity. Have you ever even been to one of his restaurants?

The flowers that adorn our tables cause way more damage to the environment than vegetables. Not only does transporting them from Africa leave a huge carbon footprint, it also prevents food staples being cultivated that could help feel the local population.

Posted by Tom Morgan | Report as abusive

I think that Ramsey is indeed one of the best chef´s this country does have to offer especially if you´re comparing him to the likes of oliver. the “F word” is a great program, almost inspired me to be a bit more adventurous in the kitchen once. instead of my normal spaghetti hoops and cheese on toast. i think its irrelevant what food is served in a restaurant, better to have the widest choice possible all year round. – – steamed carrots and a toasted Ramsey -DONE

Posted by john lloyd | Report as abusive

Here here Scott.

Ramsay does not have a clue what he is talking about. Not only does this kind of attitude endanger the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers in developing countries but it’s not based on scientific fact! Countless studies have shown that due to the way in which crops are grown in countries such as Kenya, even when carbon emmissions from airfreight are taken into account, it’s still more environmentally friendly than trying to grow crops under artificial conditions in the UK.

Sure, eat seasonally but not exclusively. We forget that airfreighting from the whole of sub-saharan Africa only accounts for 0.1% of the UK’s carbon footprint whilst a massive 60% of food-related emmissions come from transportation WITHIN THE UK.

Posted by DG | Report as abusive

strawberries have far too many of those tiny little seeds in them. They are quite like sesame seeds, but about 5% of the size. there for i am opposed to this Kenyan strawberry twaddle!

Posted by john lloyd | Report as abusive

Ramsay is nothing more than another self publicising ‘c’ list celebrity trying to grab a headline. His argument is fatally flawed. Why stop at fruit and vedge? Why not ban salt? or wine? or anything that is packaged and shipped.
We live in a free society so that gives him the right to talk a load of rubbish. He may cook a bit but he is irritating, foul mouthed and represents nobody – my advice is ignore him.

Posted by Gazz | Report as abusive

I like big butts and i cannot lie

Posted by john lloyd | Report as abusive

F*** you Tom Morgan!!! I HAVE been to his restaurant and its probably the best restaurant u have ever sampled. Besides it not flowers were talking about here Tom, its about eating the best of British organic food at all restaurants, perhaps if you sampled more of the finer things in life instead of no doubt eating the classic British rubbish, for example egg and chips you would probably know what i´m talking about.

Posted by Bob Jobin | Report as abusive

How dare you Bob. I use locally sourced organic potatoes for my chips and i re-use the oil hundreds of times. I keeps chickens in my bedroom which i feed on scraps from my plate and share my bed with. They produce delicious creamy eggs the yolks of which are sheer liquid wonderment.

Posted by Tom Morgan | Report as abusive

i just wish it was asparagus season all year round. its not fair. carrots are good too.

Posted by daniel basTon | Report as abusive

Gordon Gordon,ur days of slaving over hot stoves and making crummy celebrity appearance are diminishing by the second,.These last chance grasps for fame and publicity from these prune faced celebs dont come hand in hand with successful movements!!yes i agree it would be nice if you had select items to look forward to depending on the season!!Strawberry picking is a favourite pastime of mine,but its not something im willing to wate 9months of every year for!!Everyone remembers counting down the days to consume a delicious cadburrys cream egg,but know they have lost there apeal,iv spooned out one two many chocolate coated liguid centers to get excited about in my old age!!But who cares lets be honest Ramseys just looking for something to moan about,get off the tv,enduldge in Botox and eat a McDonalds!!

Posted by T Williams | Report as abusive

Oh come on, Gordon might be in for a bit of publicity but he is right in the main, lets not shut out foreign produce as the world would be a poorer place and variety is the spice of life. Surely we can be sensible, buy local produce as much as possible and expect to pay a small premium for that bit of out of season variety. But get those food miles down, I blame the consumer closely followed by the supermarkets.

Posted by Piers | Report as abusive

Sometimes i eat smoked Yorkshire Terriers legs, which I smoke myself in my fireplace in the bathroom. I use only organic wood chippings from local, sustainable forests.

Posted by Tom Morgan | Report as abusive

Ok Tom i appreciate that you use organic produce, obviously you could use more seasonal delicacies though such as plump quail in the Spring or succulent deer in the summer?

Posted by Bob Jobin | Report as abusive

Further more… did anyone happen to see that article in the observer last week. In reference to the man who was murdered to death by a troupe of vegetarians. The assailants repeatedly threw turnips, marrows and onions at the man who had been simply minding his own business tending his allotment when all of a sudden 7 masked vegetarians and one vegan jumped him from behind tied him to his deckchair and hurled the vegetables at him. my point being there is a lot of rivalry between vegetable lovers at the moment in the UK, so i think the last thing we need is to let these twisted people be able to get there hands on such deadly weapons all year round. the motive for the attack is still unknown police have questioned 2 suspects however. lets hope they get them

Posted by john lloyd | Report as abusive

Who the Hells been using my blogging name!

Posted by Bob Jobin | Report as abusive

Yet another example of this creeping authoritarianism that taints our landscape. Asides from the fact that such a policy would probably be illegal as a form of protectionism for home producers, I object to anybody having the ability to ram his/her values down other peoples throats. If Ramsay wishes to eat local seasonal products, then good luck to him. He should not however, be entitled to dictate what other people consume. That is their freedom of choice – a freedom of choice the Ramsays of this world seem hell-bent on depriving us of.

Posted by Mark Holliday | Report as abusive

i think its another bramley apple publicity stunt for gordon…he’s done it before and he’s doing it again…don’t listen to the bullshit people….how about banning cigarettes first for christ sake!

Posted by david S | Report as abusive

Is Ramsay a witless moron, or what?

Just what fresh home-grown ingredients, I ask, would he have on hand to perform his culinary craft during the winter?

Does he want to return to the days when the term “English Cuisine” was a mocking oxymoron? Back to Shepherd’s Pie, is it?

And all that wonderful Indian vegetarian food — does Ramsay expect cooks to prepare Sag Paneer using spinach from a can?

Lord, spare us the wisdom of witless celebrities!

Posted by Anna Keppa | Report as abusive

Ramsey, get out of the kitchen and pack to your days wearing a drool cup.

Posted by vanderleun | Report as abusive

drool cup eh? … interesting

Posted by Bob Jobin | Report as abusive