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French chefs' backlash over ‘food porn' photos

17 February 2014 by

A group of leading French restaurateurs, including one with three Michelin stars - are campaigning to ban smartphones, and the culture of photographing dish after dish with them, from the restaurants.

Alexandre Gauthier, chef at the Grenouillere restaurant in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, 40 miles from Calais, told La Voix du Nord

"There is a time and a place for everything. Our aim is to create a special moment in time for our clients. And for that, you have to switch off your phone."

Gauthier added that his customers sometimes set off a series of flashes and repositioned their tables, or sometimes let their dishes to go cold in order to take photos.

"It's flattering in a certain way," he said. "But we want to encourage people to relax."

Gauthier has since introduced a symbol on his menus depicting a camera with a line through it, although cameras are not officially banned at his restaurant.

Meanwhile, Gilles Goujon told the Midi Libre newspaper that he wanted to ban cameraphones at his three Michelin-starred restaurant, L'Auberge du Vieux Puits, in Fontjoncouse, near Perpignan.

"If people take a photo and put it out on social media, it takes away the surprise," he said. "It takes away a little bit of my intellectual property too. Someone could copy me. Plus a photo taken on an average smartphone is rarely a great image. It doesn't give the best impression of our work. It's annoying."

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