Today, the New York Times ran a story titled "Restaurants Turn Camera Shy," about the push back against the now ubiquitous act of diners taking photos of their food. As one would expect of a Times trend story about frivolous bullshit, no one profiled in the story comes off as sane and/or respectable. But who's the worst? That's for you to decide. Here are the candidates:
- David Bouley, a chef that brings diners back into the kitchen to get better shots of food. "We'll say, ‘That shot will look so much better on the marble table in our kitchen,'" Mr. Bouley said. "It's like, here's the sauce, here's the plate. Snap it. We make it like an adventure for them instead of telling them no." Nice, but also ridiculous and cloying.
- A diner at Momofoku Ko who "thought nothing of subtly raising her iPhone and snapping a picture of her shaved foie." Says the diner: "It just seemed very casual at Ko." This woman already knows she's an embarrassment, according to the Times: "She takes photos of her plates constantly, sometimes to the annoyance of her spouse, a chef."
- The Ko employee who "slapped down" the aforementioned diner, mortifying her so greatly that she would only speak to NYT reporter Helene Stapinski on the condition of anonymity... for a story about food photography.
- David Chang, Momofoku titan who instructs his employees to publicly shame diners that just want to take a photo of their meal.
- Diners at Thomas Keller's famed Per Se, who Stapinski reports took so many photos at one meal that "flashes were going off left and right, bouncing off the expansive windows overlooking Columbus Circle." YOU'RE AT PER SE, JUST ENJOY YOUR MEAL.
- Moe Issa, owner of Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, who has also banned photography. "Some people are arrogant about it," he said. "They don't understand why. But we explain that it's one big table and we want the people around you to enjoy their meal."
- If you don't already think Bouley or Issa are the worst, maybe you will now that you know that the two will provide pre-snapped photos of meals to diners.
- Valery Rizzo, who teaches a class in iPhone photography in Bushwick. I'm just going to repeat that one a few more times: Valery Rizzo, who teaches a class in iPhone photography in Bushwick. Valery Rizzo, who teaches a class in iPhone photography in Bushwick. Valery Rizzo, who teaches a class in iPhone photography in Bushwick. What kind of things can you learn at the class? "No. 1 rule is no flash," she said. "A lot of food photos are hideous because of the flash." Ah. UPDATE: Ms. Rizzo, or someone claiming to be her, has responded in the comments:
Gee thanks Gawker for adding such a statement about me on the internet for the world to see every time they google my name. That is the last time I will speak to a NYT reporter. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the reporter put words in my mouth and made me sound like someone other than myself. I don't know the person who is described in this one paragraph in this article and certainly never said "thinks the trend has crossed a line. Tired of seeing uncentered, flash-marred photos of indistinguishable glop" I don't even no what glop is. I love taking photos of food and other things around me with my phone and have nothing against it. I was asked to teach a class about food photography with the iphone and I did, simple as that. Won't do that again either. You should really stop and think before you make such a harsh statement about someone publicly. Thanks, Valery
- Jordy Trachtenberg, who runs the blog Ramentology. He has snapped a photo of every bowl of ramen he's eaten in the past two years. Of restaurants that ban photography, he says: "It's shocking," he said. "Is that even legal?"
- Helene Stapinski for writing this story
- Me, for writing this post