Food porn. It’s not like real porn. It’s not an allusion to hilariously mis-shapen fruit and veg. Nor is it the kind of frenzied ‘absolutely anything-will-suffice’ fridge-raiding as evidenced in 1986 film 9 ½ Weeks. Disappointingly, food porn is the catch-all phrase describing the practice of diners photographing their food prior to eating. Usually with their phone cameras, usually badly, with the resultant images usually ending up on social media, much to the chagrin of chefs, furious at the ‘misrepresentation’ of their hours of kitchen graft.
The furore has gotten so bad that a cabal of high hats – among them a man with three Michelin stars – is campaigning to end food porn and ban smartphones from their premises outright.
Alexandre Gauthier, chef at the Grenouillere restaurant in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, 40 miles from Calais and the aptly named Gilles Goujon of L’Auberge du Vieux Puits, in Fontjoncouse, near Perpignan are two leading voices in the call for diners to stop snapping and start scoffing. “If people take a photo and put it out on social media, it takes away the surprise,” said Gilles, adding that his signature dish “oeuf de poule pourri de truffles” (chicken egg laden with truffles) was now commonly pictured on social media. “It takes away a little bit of my intellectual property too. Someone could copy me.”
Joann Makovitzky, owner of Tocqueville restaurant in New York, has also lost her patience with the foodpornparazzi stating that the constant flashing of phone cameras infringes on the dining experiences of others.
Enter stage left, industrious young whippersnapper, Mark Greenaway whose eponymous Edinburgh restaurant has just launched a free ‘Tweet What You Eat’ workshop which aims to teach diners how to take better pictures of their food. The class will apparently offer advice on lighting from professional photographers who will also suggest apps that can be used to enhance images.
PR stunt or not, you have to applaud Mark’s capturing of the zeitgeist. Whether his efforts will result in roll outs, which will then beget a raising of standards across the food porn spectrum is unclear. Probably not, to be honest. But this will run and run.
Fans of both food porn and its complete and total abolishment are sure to be sated when Hotelympia returns to the fold this April (28th – 1st May ExCeL, London). On day two visitors to the show will be treated to a full blown debate/punch up on the subject of food porn and its implications for the wider industry. Digital Blonde Karen Fewell will be hosting a very special discussion on the impact of social media featuring celebrated chef Tom Aikens; Ed Butcher from online hospitality guide, Square Meal; Daniel Doherty of high rise success story, Duck & Waffle, catering consultant, Jonathan Doughty and Claire Wilson from Le Manoir, will be on hand to discuss and debate the practice and its implications for the wider industry.
And next time you’re in a restaurant and get served a handsome plate of food, try to resist the temptation to unleash your phone camera and reel off an out of focus abomination.
Chefs have access to knives. Lots of knives.
Copyright © 2017 Jellybean Creative Solutions. All rights reserved.
Company No. 2303631. Registered Address: 4 Bridge Street, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8BZ