"Chefs should be fined if they haven’t got ingredients in season on their menu,” he told the BBC. “I don’t want to see asparagus on a menu in the middle of December. I don’t want to see strawberries from Kenya in the middle of March.
“There should be licensing laws to make sure produce is only used in season. The quicker we get that legislation pushed through, the more unique this country will become in its sourcing.”
Herbert Berger, owner and chef patron of the Michelin-starred One Lombard Street restaurant in the City, isn’t impressed. “Saying restaurants should be fined is a bit like cracking a walnut with a sledge hammer,” he says.
“While I’m in full agreement with Ramsay that we should use as much local produce on our menus as we can, we have to accept that availability and seasonality means this is not always possible.”
“We grow some of the finest fruit and vegetables in Britain and local produce forms an integral part of my menu. But as long as consumers can shop for exotic fruits and vegetables all year round, they will demand this from our restaurants.”
Berger, who moved from Australia to London in the seventies and spent his formative years at Claridges, The Connaught, Mirabelle and the Cafe Royal, reckons Ramsay’s attack is unfairly focused.
“The finger should be pointed at the supermarkets who are fuelling consumer demand for global produce.” Picture source