The restaurant that bans customers from photographing their food.

No. You can’t take a photo.

Restaurants in the United States are reportedly banning their customers from taking arty iPhone photographs of their food because it disrupts the ambiance of the venue.

That’s right, these restaurants want you to sit and they want you to eat…. no demonstrate your creative brilliance, filter it ‘just so’ and share it with your friends.

The NY Times ran an article this week about the growing trend that cited chefs who reasoned that people were going so far as to stand on their chairs to get the perfect shot. One said it was “hard to build a memorable evening when flashes are flying every six minutes” 

The article reminded us of the rather awesome views of comedian Tim Ross on the subject of food photography (you might know Tim better as ‘Rosso.’) Fed up with people taking photos of their food and uploading them to their blogs, Tim wrote this piece, which is republished here on Mamamia:

Have you noticed that food bloggers have suddenly become the new wine wankers?

At your local restaurant they present as normal diners, happily chatting away like real people. Then suddenly, as soon as their meal arrives, they whip out their iphone and artfully take snaps of their skate, parmesan and broad bean flavoured sorbet, all ready to be uploaded to their WordPress site as soon as they get home.

“Have you noticed that food bloggers have become the new wine wankers?”

When they finally stop playing food stylist and actually eat their dish, they give a running commentary on the standard of the food, talking as loudly as possible so fellow dinners can marvel at what they’ve learnt from watching three seasons of Masterchef. When they finally shut up and split the bill with the aid of a calculator, they scurry off home to publish their illuminating restaurant review that will be read by at least four people.

It’s all part of this new cult of expertise, where we are suddenly driven to commentate on all manner of things with professional aplomb.

Blokes who used to talk about sport are miraculously having conversations about the relative culinary merits of Sydney’s hot new chefs, these young guns that specialise in trendy dishes like southern fried duck’s bum served with a fixed gear bike seat infused mayonnaise.


Now instead of smashing schooners they talk of matching craft beers or cider with some trendy dish that of course has been “twice cooked” (I think my mum used to call that reheating).

Sydney’s food revolution is also causing people copious amounts of anxiety. The prospect of having friends round for dinner is now fraught with danger given the judgemental taste buds that gather round tables on Saturday nights. Couples who were once simply happy to be invited have now turned into snarky critics.

Tim Ross. He doesn’t like it when you take photos of your food.

One of my friends has been scared off cooking since his lamb shanks were pilloried by a pal for being a “safe choice” and “predictable” as soon as he plonked them on the table. The final straw was when his carpenter mate proclaimed, “If you’re serious about going for a gelatinous feel with your slow cooked meat, you really should be using ox cheek.”

What happened to a bit of old fashioned respect for the chef? When did phrases like “This is a beautiful thanks David and yes I’d love another glass of Koonunga Hill,” suddenly become passé?

It wasn’t all that long ago that doing Jamie Oliver’s roast chicken or knocking up Bill Grangers ricotta hotcakes would have everyone raving.

These days, serve those up and you might as well have dished up Kantong or Hawaiian steaks. Mind you, I’m sure one of those hot young chefs is probably reinventing one of those right now using pork belly, organic grown pineapple and Himalayan Yak Mozzarella and somewhere a food blogger is ready and waiting to pounce.

This post was originally published in the Sun Herald and here, and has been republished with full permission.

Tim Ross is one of Australia’s best known comedians. He is currently a contributor to Men’s Style Australia, Rolling Stone and writes a monthly column Rosso’s Sydney for The (Sydney) Magazine in the Sydney Morning Herald. You can find him on Twitter here.

Do you have trouble deciding what to serve for dinner? Do you take photos of your food? Attach your favourite snap if you’re game!