http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/05/15/nrams15.xml Ramsay's pizza joke outrages vegetarians By Roya Nikkhah (Filed: 15/05/2005) Gordon Ramsay, a chef almost as famous for his four-letter outbursts in the kitchen as for his food, has sparked outrage after feeding meat to a vegetarian in his new television show. The programme was filmed for the second series of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, which will be broadcast later this month on Channel 4. Gordon Ramsay: 'Good luck with the Vegemite!' In the first episode, which coincidentally will be shown during National Vegetarian Week, Ramsay invites passers-by to sample pizzas at La Lanterna, a struggling Italian -restaurant in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. One of the volunteers who agrees to take part says that he has been a vegetarian for eight years. Ramsay replies that the restaurant's chefs have prepared a vegetarian pizza and gives him one to try. After the volunteer - identified only as "Bob" - has eaten the pizza, Ramsay tells him: "Unfortunately, that pizza has got a lot of mozzarella and tomatoes, but underneath all that there is parma ham." The vegetarian complains to Ramsay that he has played a "mean" trick on him, but Ramsay jokes that he "hasn't come out in a big rash". He is then filmed laughing at the man and asking him if he would like some more, while telling the restaurant's chefs that they have "converted a vegetarian". As the volunteer hurries out of the restaurant, Ramsay calls out after him, "Good luck with the Vegemite!" The incident has infuriated vegetarians, who have denounced Ramsay's actions as offensive and unethical. Tina Fox, the chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, said: "I am amazed that Gordon Ramsay can find the discomfort of a fellow human being so amusing. "It can be deeply upsetting for vegetarians to find they have eaten any part of an animal in error. Would Gordon find it equally amusing if an anaphylactic customer died at the table due to eating nuts?" Rose Elliot, the award-winning vegetarian food writer, called Ramsay's behaviour "outrageous" and said that she would no longer visit his restaurants. Dave Spikey, the actor who stars in Channel 4's comedy series Phoenix Nights, who has been a vegetarian for more than 20 years, said: "I find it extraordinary that anyone could have so little respect and regard for other people's sincerely held moral beliefs and ethical choices." Leading chefs were also critical. Tom Aikens, the chef-patron of the eponymous restaurant in Chelsea, said: "People often choose to be vegetarians for serious dietary or religious reasons. To feed them meat is unnecessary, unkind and certainly not funny." Heston Blumenthal, the owner of the Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, said: "If someone decides not to eat meat they have made that decision for a reason and it should be respected." Alex Scott, the owner and head chef at La Lanterna, said that the vegetarian in question appeared distressed after the incident: "I did feel a bit sorry for the guy as he ran out of the restaurant looking very sick and pale. Gordon fell about laughing and I think it made his night, as he's not known for his liking of -vegetarians. I think Gordon just forgot to tell him the pizza had parma ham in it, but he definitely knew because he oversaw us making it and discussed the ingredients with us." A Channel 4 spokesman said: "We believe this was a genuine mistake and that Gordon Ramsay did not deliberately set out to give meat to a vegetarian." In an interview to promote the BBC's Comic Relief programme in 2003, Ramsay was asked what had been his most recent lie, to which he replied: "To a table of vegetarians who had artichoke soup. I told them it was made with vegetable stock when it was chicken stock."