Consider this scenario: you are on a romantic dinner date at a swanky restaurant – the food arrives – and then what?
Immediately reach for your phone, or your camera – anything – and take pictures, of course. Repeat for each dish. It doesn’t matter if the food turns stone cold, or turns to stone. Next, share those pictures online if the restaurant offers Wi-Fi (surely they must have that!).
I admit – I have done this on numerous occasions, including our dinner date at The Five Fields (see my previous post). I felt a little embarrassed, but the food just looked so good, I had to eat it take pictures right away.
But is this right?
Eating, to quote Heston Blumenthal, is a ‘multi-sensory experience’. It is also an intrinsic part of our daily lives. In photographing food, we aren’t only documenting an important part of our daily routines; we are celebrating each of those gastronomical experiences at the same time (and make everyone else jealous in the process – that’s when the real pleasure kicks in).
But not everyone agrees. The BBC reported in a recent article that two Michelin-starred French chef are banning customers from taking pictures of their food. M. Gilles Goujon of L’Auberge du Vieux Puits considers it poor restaurant etiquette and an ‘infringement’ on his ‘intellectual property rights’; M. Alexandre Gauthier of La Grenouillere, on the other hand, thinks it diminishes one’s dining experiences especially in the presence of other companions.
Messieurs Goujon and Gauthier aren’t alone in this, but banning customers from photographing their food seem a little draconian to me. But do they have a point? Is foodtography, or food porn, as some call it, a result of our diminishing restaurant etiquette? Does it lessen one’s dining experiences, and is it an affront to the chef and one’s dining companions?