Foodstagram: the restaurant trend that’s driving New York chefs crazy

 

They call it “foodstagramming”, and it’s the curse of modern dining.

Restaurant-goers who were once content to enjoy the flavours of their meals now seem unable to enjoy their evening without taking smartphone photographs of every dish and uploading them onto Facebook or Twitter.

But now chefs are fighting back. Tired of seeing customers setting up camera tripods on their tables, or slapdash iPhone photos portraying the food in a bad light on social media, top New York cooks have banned photography in their premises.

“It’s hard to build a memorable evening when flashes are flying every six minutes,” Michelin-starred chef David Bouley told The New York Times. At the three-starred Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, pictures are banned altogether.

While such bans are rare in the UK – photography is discouraged at The Ivy, but mainly to ensure the privacy of its celebrity clientele – some leading British chefs say they share the frustrations of the US counterparts.

“One table told us they wanted to be moved because it was too dark to take photographs of the food,” said Marc Wilkinson, chef patron at the Michelin-starred Fraiche in Birkenhead.

“It can affect the atmosphere at the table if you’re stopping at every course to take pictures, tweet or upload. I wouldn’t choose to do that, but it’s their own personal choice.

“It’s similar to when you go to the museum and you see people going from corridor to corridor without looking at anything. They look at the whole gallery through a lens.”

And camera phones aren’t the only weapon in the food blogger’s armour. He claimed his front of house staff were recorded to see if what they said “matched up to the food that came out”.

Tom Aikens, who runs Tom Aikens Restaurant in Chelsea, said that if his premises were smaller and more intimate, he would be tempted to impose a ban because it can “disturb the dining experience”. Though generally pleased by the photos of his dishes that appear on social media, he said he’d seen “some pictures that don’t do the food justice”.

However, some chefs derided the “primadonna” Big Apple restaurateurs and their pretentious photo policies.

Aiden Byrne, who won a Michelin star at the age of 22, said there would be no such ban at The Church Green in Cheshire.  “What are you going to do?” he said. “Start taking phones off people as they walk through the door? If you put yourself out there and promote yourself on social media then you have to accept it could bite you on the a***. I’ve been on the receiving end of people putting bad pictures on [the internet], and I was upset – but you take it out on yourself and not the customer because you’re the one who is creating the product.”

Simon Rogan, of L’Enclume in Cumbria said the New Yorkers “must have great ideas about themselves”. Angela Hartnett, chef patron at Murano, admitted to being a foodstagrammer herself, but warned against diners getting carried away. “It’s not like you’re taking a photo of Venice, it’s a plate of food.”

For David Williams, who writes the influential food blog The Critical Couple, any attempt to prohibit photos is akin to “trying to hold back the tide”. “When we went to Noma [in Copenhagen], every table had a camera – you would have to be really blasé about your eating experience not to.” And what of chefs complaining of bad photos? “Good food photographs well,” he said, “bad food photographs badly”.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Manager – Heat Pumps

£40000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: They ...

Test Job

TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis