Fines For Non-Local Ingredients?

Juliette Rossant of posted this week about the recent bruhaha surrounding celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. Apparently, Ramsay is making a huff about restaurants that utilize non-local produce, relying mainly on foodstuffs carted in from all over the world. In fact, he suggested that restaurants should be fined for their national and international ingredients.

In this article from the UK’s Telegraph, Ramsay comments:

“Chefs should be fined if they haven’t got ingredients in season on their menu,” he said. “I don’t want to see asparagus in the middle of December, I don’t want to see strawberries from Kenya in the middle of March. “I want to see it home grown. There should be stringent laws, fines and licensing laws to make sure produce is only used in season. If we get this legislation pushed through Parliament then the more unique this country will become,” he told the BBC.

However, as pointed out by other well-known chefs, Chef Ramsay may be facing fines of his own.

Anthony Worrall Thompson, a television chef, was also circumspect: “I trawled through his menus from Claridges and Maze and there were at least 15 items that would have warranted a fine,” he said. “The principle is right but as for fining, I think it is a bit of a nonsense – he likes to keep in the limelight.”

I think it’s a great idea to offer fines for not utilizing local ingredients, but with the change in the food climate across the world, it won’t be much longer until local items are all that restaurants and cafes can afford.

2 replies on “Fines For Non-Local Ingredients?”
  1. says: jonson roth

    Fines are a terrible way to go about this. I support the use of local ingredients. They’re fresh, and using them supports the local economy, as well as potentially reducing carbon emissions due to reduction of transporting efforts.

    However, food should be cooked with love. Maybe it’s the area I live in, but there are too many a-hole restaurant owners as it is, who pay poor wages. Imagine what life will be like for cooks if their bosses have to deal with fines. There are better ways than forcing people to do something.

    I was originally going to say that Chef Ramsay is a raging a-hole that carries on the fine tradition of belittling kitchen and wait staff, and deserves absolutely no respect whatsoever. He’s tops on my list, “Top 10 Celebrities to Punch in the Face If I Get the Chance and Won’t Suffer Repercussions From Doing So”. But I didn’t say any of that since I didn’t want to offend you, as you support fines too.

    Seriously though, this is the 21st century, and I think there are nicer ways to go about this. In fact, if patrons taste “local”, then go to their fave restaurant and demand local produce and other food items, isn’t that a less antagonistic way than fines?

    So everyone that goes out to a nice restaurant, demand “local”. Print off bumper stickers or t-shirts that say “go local!”.

  2. says: jonson roth

    To supplement that last comment, point out to restaurant owners (or the floor manager) how “going local” reduces food costs and increases the bottom line for owners. If you think they care, tell them about how it helps the environment.

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