Heston Blumenthal criticises people who take photos of their food before eating it

Celebrity chef says it is important to 'be in the moment'

Heston Blumenthal has criticised people who pick up their phones to take photographs of their food for social media.

The celebrity chef, who owns the triple Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant, said the issue has been debated in his kitchen for some time and that he believes the trend is causing people to be disconnected from the moment.

“At the Fat Duck, we’ve debated this for several years now,” Blumenthal told the Radio Times, before admitting he is reluctant to intervene as he does not want to upset paying guests.

“If we say to people, ‘Your food’s going cold’, you put up a barrier between you and the diner,” he explained.

“I’ve been very tempted. We did it once in Australia because somebody was taking pictures with a flash, which affected other tables. It’s a really tricky thing.”

The 53-year-old added that while he too enjoys taking photos to look back on, it is important to “be in the moment”.

“Social media is such a big part of our lives, our sight has become almost the more important sense rather than smell or taste,” Blumenthal said.

“If I see something beautiful like a sunset, I try to be in the moment, then take a picture afterwards.”

While taking pictures of meals has become a key part of eating out for many people, it could actually be ruining the dining experience.

According to US researchers, photographing food can make it less enjoyable to eat.

A 2014 study conducted by marketing professors at the BYU Marriott School of Management found that over-exposure to images of food can affect a person's satiation.

“When we Instagram, we inherently must focus our attention on the item in the picture, even for that very brief moment. This can have a range of effects on later enjoyment,” co-author Professor Joseph Redden previously told The Independent.

“If we spend too much time repeatedly viewing such foods, our paper suggests this can lead to pre-satiation. That is, you’re already a bit tired of the food before you even start eating it.”

Blumenthal, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2016, went on to explain that he felt “stuck on a hamster wheel” at the height of his television fame, and had to “perform a bit of a reverse manoeuvre” in order to rebalance his life.

The chef said he moved to the French countryside with his wife and also took up meditation and tai chi, adding that while he is “still a work in progress” he is “going in the right direction”.

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