So the Roux brothers have banned photographing their food

 

<massive eye roll>

I mean, seriously boys?

For those that don’t know there was an article in The Evening Standard this week that quotes Michel Roux

I’m really getting so upset about people taking pictures. We put up a card at the door saying ‘No photos, please’.

I mean, what are they doing? Maybe once during the meal you want to take a little photo of something because it’s unusual. But what about the flavours?

What about the flavours Michel?  Surely the flavours are just between you and the diner?  They don’t matter to other people, but it really matters to us that we share a photo of the dish in all it’s glory, the flavours don’t matter, the picture is what matters.

A picture on a phone cannot possibly capture the flavours.

Well of course it bloody can’t, though give Apple a couple of years and I am sure that will also be possible.   I am sure it will only be a matter of time before Sniffergram becomes a thing alongside Instagram.

There is no doubting that the Waterside Inn is an extraordinary restaurant, and worthy of its three Michelin stars, I can’t say for certain as I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting personally.   I can’t help but wonder though how many people have booked in and visited off the back of seeing the culinary creations on a friend’s Instagram feed.    Or because they saw photos shared on Tripadvisor or some other social media platform.    Because that is how advertising works boys.   Yes it’s a bit braggy as it comes across as  “look where I am”  or “we have just spent £160 on dinner, but LOOK AT IT”, and?  So what?

I don’t give a monkey’s about the flavour right then to be honest, because flavour is subjective.    For instance, if somebody were to describe the this to me: Salade de homard à la betterave et crème fraîche acidulée au caviar osciètre I would probably roll my eyes.  This is one of the dishes on your Menu Exceptionnel and to have lobster salad and beetroot with caviar explained to me would probably put me off to be honest.   But  having seen that dish on Instagram (search the #WatersideInn hashtag) I am sold, it looks incredible.

Surely you want the advertising don’t you?  Why would you not want diners showing off what it is you have created and presented to them, to showcase the incredible talent of your team?

I love photographing the dishes of food I have been presented with.  One of the photos that got me more interaction on Instagram recently than any other post, was this one:

 

In fact the chef of the Feathers came out the next night to personally serve our main courses to us and say thank you for the fishfinger sandwich love.   Now when I think of that weekend I will remember the sandwich, and meeting the chef.   My sharing that picture on instagram got the conversation going on line.  Maybe even generated a bit of interest in the hotel and its restaurant, who knows?  I know that it will be something I can talk about in the future if anybody ever mentions fish finger sandwiches.  I can join in the conversation again and share the picture again, tagging the hotel as I do.

You might not like it boys, but this is how the world works now and if you start telling your diners what they can and can’t do in your establishments then you might find yourselves without a clientele very soon.

 

No photography image courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • I’m on the fence with this. I totally understand that they may have got completely pissed off with diners stopping others from eating or enjoying that first look experience because “they need to take a picture for instagram” – and there’s also some people who get out the big camera, stand on chairs, take 287 different photos from all different angles to get that “perfect shot” which must be TOTALLY distracting for other clients. I’m sure this also extends to all the people also doing snapchat, facebook live, vlogging, et al.

    And yes, the owners of an establishment CAN actually tell their diners what they want to happen on their premises because it’s their space and, regardless of people paying to use that space/experience, there will be a way in which they want to present that.

    But.. as you mention, there are marketing advantages to taking and tagging a photo whilst enjoying a dining experience and there are ways to take a photo discreetly. Not everyone is as considerate as you.

    • Oh I totally agree. Anybody getting out a huge camera and taking 287 different photos deserves to be thrown out, regardless of how much they have paid for their dinner. And yes, I agree, it is completely the restaurant’s right to stop people doing anything they deem to be against their rules without having to justify themselves. So by the same token it would be completely within my rights to vote with my feet and not return.

      I say return, I hvae never been. But the fact their is a sign saying “No photos” rather than “Please be considerate when taking photos, and respect the other diner’s right to a peaceful meal” might be a tad more appropriate.