Irish chef JP McMahon is considered one of the country's top culinary talents. He also owns Michelin-starred restaurants Aniar and Tartare, so when he offers an opinion on what a restaurant should and shouldn't serve, people should take it seriously, even if it flies in the face of trends.
McMahon recently spoke with The Irish Independent, saying his restaurants would no longer be serving avocados, describing them as "the blood diamonds of Mexico."
He told The Irish Independent:
"I don't use them because of the impact they have on the countries that they are coming from — deforestation in Chile, violence in Mexico...For me, they are akin to battery chickens [hens kept in cages all their lives]. I think Irish restaurants should make a conscious effort to not use avocados or at least reduce the amount they use. You can get fair trade avocados, but most are not produced this way."
Despite his efforts, McMahon knows that, in our capitalist society, real change will happen only if avocados become unmarketable because people stop eating them.
"Change won't happen unless consumers avoid them. We don't use any in our restaurants. There are plenty of alternatives. We have Jerusalem artichokes (as an alternative to avocados) with hollandaise in our brunch menu in Tartare at the moment."
While the avocado has developed a reputation for its ubiquitous role in a millennial's diet, many restaurants around the world are beginning to take it off their menus, citing concerns over the impact the fruit has on its nation of origin.
On its Instagram page, Wild Strawberry Cafe in Buckinghamshire, England, wrote a long post about avocados:
Wild Strawberry Cafe wrote, in part:
"The Western world's obsession with avocado has been placing unprecedented demand on avocado farmers, pushing up prices to the point where there are even reports of Mexican drug cartels controlling lucrative exports. Forests are being thinned out to make way for avocado plantations. Intensive farming on this scale contributes to greenhouse emmisions [sic] by its very nature & places pressure on local water supplies."
Concern for the environment also drives many people, like Paul Warburton, owner of Franks Canteen in north London, away from the fruit:
"It takes so much water to grow them, and also chopping down trees."
Dan Crossley, executive director of the English charity Food Ethics Council, thinks that restaurants' hesitance to serve avocados may represent a positive step in thinking.
He said limiting these thoughts to only one product won't solve any problems:
"I don't think we should get too distracted by some cafés that may be banning it. It does raise interesting and important questions on where we get our food from … but I don't think a wide-scale ban of any particular product will solve the problems we have."
Twitter was aghast at the idea of losing their beloved avocados!
Nevertheless, it seems the avocado's moment in the sun may have ended. We'll miss these good times but, as they say, nothing good can last forever.