MIAMI — Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently joined South Florida hunters to kill, and then eat, Burmese pythons invading the Everglades, the South Florida Water Management District announced Tuesday.
Never mind that Everglades pythons have mercury levels measured at more than three times levels considered safe for fish and officials have urged the public not to consume them. This is a chef whose fiery temper and scathing attacks on his cooking show contestants have built a reality show empire. What's a little mercury poisoning?
According to a district statement, Ramsay and his son Jack accompanied district hunter Kyle Penniston on a recent outing along a canal in western Miami-Dade County that borders the Big Cypress National Preserve. The group bagged three pythons, bringing the total captured by district hunters over the last four months to 317, and making it the state's most successful hunt yet.
"Ramsay then cooked a python into a special meal right on the levee, using a portable oven," the statement said.
Neither Ramsay's press office nor the district immediately responded to emails Tuesday asking about mercury. In 2012, when the state launched its first hunt to draw attention to the invasive snakes that have invaded marshes and driven down populations of native mammals, officials issued warnings about eating python. A U.S. Geological Survey study found levels at 5.5 parts per million. Anything in fish above 1.5 parts per million is considered unsafe.
The Ramsays' adventure will air in an upcoming episode of his Fox series, The F Word, which airs live Wednesdays.
Contact Jenny Staletovich at [email protected] Follow @jenstaletovich.