Monday, February 17, 2014

Smart Phones Not Allowed

It seems that French chefs 
(and some New York chefs as well)
are not happy with the amount of cell phone photography 
going on in their restaurants. 

They are debating using photos of
cell phones with a red circle and a slash on the menus
to indicate that taking photos of your dish
is no longer allowed. 

Many chefs are complaining that,
not only does it leave the food cold
and their creations broadcast across social media,
taking away the element of surprise for future patrons
or possible copy-cat problems,
people tend to behave badly
distracting other diners 
from their own unique experience. 

Um...I'm guilty.
Don't get me wrong,
I haven't climbed on chairs
or rearranged tables to get a good shot
(as the chefs are complaining)
but I have rearranged glasses and silverware
and occasionally asked the other diners at my table 
if they wouldn't mind waiting before taking a bite 
so I can get a shot of their plate. 

But I never use a flash
or disturb others in the restaurant. 

I have occasionally been told not to take a photo of a display
such as at Laduree. 
But I did take photos of their creations on my plate. 

 I feel a little funny about being told I can't do something
if I'm not disturbing anyone else. 
It's true that it is the chef's creation
but I am paying for it. 
But then we get into the etiquette
of how to take photos without bothering others. 

What's your feeling? 

 (Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)
Photos from Restaurant des Sens in Montpellier, France
and Laduree on the Champs Elysee, Paris


  1. Hello my friend! I did not see this lush post appear this morning on my sidebar. I have to comment when I am at my own laptop, this is a very important topic you bring up!

  2. Tempest in a teapot. It goes with the territory. Photos, artwork, pinterest? It happens. When I was in Paris, they paid a woman in the Ritz to shoo people away from taking pictures of the displays in window fronts of purses etc. I was dismayed. That said, we did meet a couple of girls from a famous shoe company, scouting around Paris to see what was au courant.

  3. Oh oh, where is Ms. Manners when one needs her. I think it is interesting when people using their cells for any reason what so ever does not bother anyone. Just like dog owners do not think it bothers anyone to have their dog sniff your leg. He did not bite he was only being friendly. My 2 cents is phones are like cigareetes....they need to be banned in eating establishments because people are not sensitive enough to know what is bothersome and what is not. Is nothing sacred? Not even eating???

  4. I'm guilty too -- and I don't care. I think it's extreme arrogance for them to think some might copy or "spoil the surprise." And it's my choice if the food is cold. Frankly, if someone took photos of my food for a blog, I'd be so excited I'd send them a certificate for a free dinner!

    Meanwhile, thanks for popping by Marmelade Gypsy and leaving another wonderful comment. My computer has been down so I'm late checking in on folks!

  5. I think it is rude to ask someone not to eat so you can get a picture of the food on their plate-what is wrong with enjoying the moment and not taking a picture-have a memory in your
    head-I agree with Angele-how do you know you aren't bothering other people-classy thing to think about others...

  6. What an interesting topic! I especially think it's nice ot read other views. I've been given much food for thought.

    I am guilty, too. I love photographing our meals while on vacation. My whole family enjoys it because it brings back such memories. We all get a kick out of it and take care of it quickly and without flash. Of course, it must be noted, we are not eating in fine dining establishments with chefs, either. I can't imagine our quick pictures bothering anyone, but maybe it does.

    Still, it's a fairly harmless simple pleasure. Maybe those someones who are bothered need to focus more on their own dinner companions and less on what's going on at my table. As to the chefs you mentioned - the reactions seem a little self-important to me.

  7. Note: Oops! I do know that it is "to" and not "ot".

  8. I had to share this post with Jeffrey, too. As we were talking, I made a comparison. A chef not allowing you to take pictures, though he is happy for you to spend your money to buy his or her food, is like a designer saying, "Feel free to spend your money on my clothes, but don't you dare photograph yourself wearing them."

  9. I have a rebellious streak that says, "What? I can't do that?" But just recently, my son told me there is a boycott on certain clothing lines and includes one of my favorites, Free People. They send people out to photograph clothing stores with local designers, from what I understand, and copy these designs on a massive scale. Other companies were targeted, one a jewelry company I don't know, but it seems to be a problem in all areas, that designs, even in food presentation and displays, are fair game and are stolen by larger companies. I know that doesn't seem to apply to personal photos that are posted to the internet, but I'm sure there are trolls out there looking at what we post. Should that keep us from posting our yummies or our latest idea in fashion? I don't know. I guess I'm saying I can understand the concerns of both sides. As a writer, I'm protected by copyright if someone posts more than a snippet of my writing without permission, but I'd never be able to go after someone in India, say, if my short story ended up there in an unauthorized anthology. Our modern dilemma.


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