Gordon Ramsay: Hypocrite?

Gordon Ramsay, Seasonal food advocate:

Celebrity British chef Gordon Ramsay said restaurants should be fined if they serve out-of-season fruit and vegetables.

“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,” he said after raising his concerns with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Meet Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur:

This is a man who operates a restaurant in Dubai, for God’s sake, where absolutely nothing is local or seasonal. Everything arrives there from somewhere else, according to whatever season happens to be in progress in whichever hemisphere happens to be the most convenient at the time…

(snip)

… He insists upon seasonal produce and yet he has marinated pineapple on his menu right now, when it is only at its best during Britain’s winter months. It’s also rather less than local. Nor is the pigeon from Bresse or the truffle from Perigord or the mango from the Caribbean, all of which happen to appear on his menus too. Only a few weeks ago, his company opened a new restaurant called Maze Grill. Its unique selling point? Beef from America.

It would be easy for me to get all in a huff about how all chefs and restaurants should use locally produce and seasonal food products, but the reality is that it is quite likely that I visit places that do neither. So I’m not going to chastise Ramsay for his restaurants not adhering to my own questionable ethical standards.

However, making such a bold statement like the one regarding places being fined for using products out of season, when he so clearly cannot even hold himself up to that standard was a serious lapse of judgment, particularly when those who do advocate for seasonal and local foods are often quite passionate and dedicated to the cause.

The question I have at this point is that are we asking too much of our food celebrities? Isn’t it enough that a chef just be a chef? Do they now have to take stances on certain aspects of food politics in order to be seen as more credible?