Christopher Hirst: A serving of double standards

Share
Related Topics

Gordon Ramsay's broadside against imported ingredients will come as a surprise to anyone who has dined at Verre by Gordon Ramsay, his "signature restaurant" at the Hilton Dubai Creek, in Dubai. In swish, anonymous surroundings, the menu entirely consists of dishes that might have emerged from the maestro's London kitchens.

When I ate at Verre in autumn 2006, diners could choose from Scottish salmon, foie gras de Landes, line-caught halibut from the North Sea, Red Label chicken from France and monkfish wrapped in Parma ham. The experience of eating "West Country pork cheeks cooked in honey and cloves" was particularly disorienting in the burgeoning Arabian city.

The loquacious maître d' boasted that "over 80 per cent of the food served at Verre is imported". In fact, it was hard to find anything, aside from dates, watermelon and eggs, that was locally sourced. Even Ramsay's celebrated crème brûlée, we were proudly informed, was made with "homogenised milk flown in from the UK". Virtually everything that the well-heeled diners put in their mouths had travelled more than 3,500 miles to get there.

It seems likely that such ostentatious bragging about air miles has been curtailed following the boss's Damascene conversion to local food, though his high-end cuisine will continue to require produce from northern latitudes.

The arid Gulf states may not offer a cornucopia of ingredients. But in one respect, Dubai is fabulously well endowed. The fish market, on the other side of the Creek from Verre, is packed with maritime wonders. Any adventurous cook would leap at the chance to cook kingfish, blue lobster and other tasty species hauled from the Gulf. White pomfret, lauded by the fish expert Alan Davidson for its "delicious flesh ... well adapted to almost any kind of preparation", abound. Its excellent flavour and flesh are comparable to halibut.

Yet, Ramsay's ambassadors stick rigidly to fish expensively shipped in. The unvarying use of imported ingredients strikes me as an example of lazy cooking that would provoke much use of the "F word" on Ramsay's TV show.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power