May 12, 2008

We Knew That Gordon Ramsay Was A Idiot

Actually we are sure that Gordon would find it hard to object to us filling in the three blanks.

We have a hard time stomaching Ramsay on TV so were pleased to read this in the Financial Times. Unfortunately there are a few too many chefs in New Zealand trying to cash in on the sustainablility dollar in a similar manner to Chef Ramsay. We hope they read this:

Not for the first time, notoriously profane chef Gordon Ramsay should have kept his mouth shut. His demand for “stringent laws” against serving produce out of season in British restaurants might seem like a harmless piece of publicity-seeking from a shrewd businessman. After all, even Gordon Brown’s desperately insecure government is unlikely to be bounced by Mr Ramsay into fining his rivals if they serve up tomato soup in December.
Sadly, Mr Ramsay’s self-serving pronouncement cannot simply be ignored. The chef – whose restaurants grace Boca Raton, New York, Tokyo, Dubai, Dublin, Versailles, Prague and London – is concerned about the impact of air-freighted food on the planet. Leave aside the incongruity of hearing these qualms from a man with a restaurant in Heathrow Airport. Our complaint is that serving imported food should be a source of pride, not shame.
This is not to dismiss the threat of climate change, but to recognise the facts: air-freighted food is a surprisingly modest contributor to the problem. Kenyan beans are not flown first class; they are packed in far more tightly than the food that travels from supermarket to kitchen in the capacious boot of a family car.
As the UK’s Department for International Development has pointed out, far more environmental damage is done driving food around the UK than flying it from overseas. Blessed with space and sunlight, many overseas producers also save enough energy easily to offset the damage done by air freight. [why has NZAID not taken a similar stance in New Zealand????Maybe they are spending their time reading the situations vacant section of the DomPost and The Economist - 15 November is getting closer!!]
A far better policy on climate change is a tax or trading scheme that sets a credible international price for carbon. That would discourage other polluters long before air-freight farming, and thank goodness: the livelihoods of many poor farmers depend on the trade.
Mr Ramsay claims that seasonal food is an inspiration to chefs. Perhaps so. That should only deepen our admiration for the selfless folk who force down winter strawberries, sacrificing their taste buds in the fight against African poverty.