A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it certainly won’t tell you anything about flavors. Fed up with diners focused more on staging their plates for the perfect #foodstagram shot than contemplating the flavors of a dish, the Waterside Inn, a British restaurant that’s continuously held three Michelin stars since 1985, has banned photography in their dining room.
According to Grubstreet, Michel Roux, who co-founded the restaurant with his brother Albert in 1972 explained that no amount of free advertising can counterbalance the distress it causes him to see patrons who are distracted from the experience that each dish is trying to provide.
We have to believe him as this 76-year-old chef knows what he’s talking about when it comes to properly experiencing fine dining. In addition to the Waterside Inn, he also started Le Gavroche, Britain’s first three-Michelin-star restaurant. So when he was stumped by diners who were compelled to #foodstagram, you know that there is something off about our eating habits.
As Roux told the Daily Mail,
“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 flavors? A picture on a phone cannot possibly capture the flavors.”
Instagrammers Ignore Roux’s Wishes
Despite his insistence, however, Instagram is still awash with images of his dishes. Roux’s determination to ban #foodstagram is not a new effort. In 2014, the French launched a campaign to ban photo ops in restaurants on the grounds that it was a threat to France’s storied gastronomic traditions. In New York, too, fine dining establishments have worked to ban photography in their dining rooms. But in spite of their best efforts, eventually the restaurants’ resolve crumbles.
It seems that the free advertising offered by Instagram far outweighs the principles behind the argument against #foodstagramming. Whether or not Roux stays strong in his convictions remains to be seen. However, as a result of his hardline decision, he must contend with stealth photography in his dining room, which may be more distracting than simply taking photos out in the open.