The star attraction at Dundee Flower and Food Festival has apologised after suggesting allergy sufferers should give two days’ notice before eating at a restaurant.
Gregg Wallace made the comments during a cooking demonstration at Camperdown Park over the weekend.
In video footage taken by a festival-goer, he said: “I would like to have legislation where if you’ve got an allergy to something, you must give 48 hours’ notice to the restaurant you’re going to.
“And then they can send you the meal they are going to cook for you and you can decide if you want it or not, rather than just turning up and expecting the whole restaurant to change what they do because somebody can’t eat something. That’s my view.”
The clip has been shared on social media with users branding the remarks “discriminatory” and “rude” towards allergy sufferers.
Mr Wallace has since offered a “sincere apology” for any offence and has said his comments reflected “an honest concern to protect both customer and chef”.
He has had support for his views, but Councillor Ken Lynn said requiring people with allergies to give 48 hours’ notice to book a restaurant meal would be “overkill”.
Mr Lynn, whose work involves health issues, said: “I don’t like the idea of having to give 48 hours’ notice at all, much less having it as legislation.
“I think the most important thing is that restaurants clearly state exactly what is contained in the dishes they’re offering.
“There will always be at least a few meals on the menu that the person can have. I know quite a few people with food allergies and all they have to do is ask what the dishes contain.
“It doesn’t spoil their enjoyment of going to a restaurant and it’s fairly straightforward for the venues as well.”
Councillor Craig Melville, who was involved in organising the festival, said he did not think any offence was meant.
He said: “I think that the suggestion was made with good intentions to help both allergy sufferers and restaurants to meet halfway.
“It was good to have Gregg Wallace at the festival and I don’t think the comments reflected badly on it.”
Sandy Constable, who runs a health food shop catering to allergy sufferers in Dundee, thinks giving notice within reason is a sensible idea.
He said: “I’m a vegetarian and so is my wife, children and other relatives. If we’re booking a table at a restaurant we tell them, because you can’t just have 15 people, all vegetarians, walking in somewhere with only four meal options.
“But, that said, 48 hours might be pushing it.”