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Food porn? Bring it on, say Aussie chefs

AAP logoAAP 18/02/2014 Miles Godfrey
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Food porn? Oh yes baby!

But please don't flash at our restaurants - and strictly no fiddling with your neighbour.

That's the message from Australia's top chefs who've dismissed a French critique of food bloggers and given social media connoisseurs carte blanche to put their dinner online.

'Food porn' - blogs and social media posts about culinary conquests - has exploded all over the internet in the past five years.

We've all seen Dave proudly showing off his scallops on Facebook and "liked" Leanne's lastest tiramisu on instagram.

Or perhaps read one of the many excellent Australian food blogs reviewing local eateries, complete with pictures of each dish.

But the knives were out in France this week as a coterie of Michelin-starred cooks gave food pornographers a serve - telling snap-happy eaters to dump their smartphones at the door and don't be so damn rude, s'il vous plait.

It's already led one Australian food blogger to consider boycotting one of the restaurants involved - with Anthony Clark of foodmeupscotty.com saying he might avoid L'Auberge du Vieux Puits in future.

Head chef of that eatery, Gilles Goujon was among those leading the criticism of food bloggers and social media posters.

"It doesn't give the best image of our work. It's annoying," he moaned.

Alexandre Gauthier of La Grenouillere added: "We are trying to give our clients a break in their lives. For that, you need to turn off your mobile."

The French complaints were not about blogs and social media per se - more about the intrusion of modern living into what for many Francophiles is a sacred pastime - eating.

But Australian chefs are taking an altogether more laisser faire attitude, with Rockpool's Neil Perry giving food photographers the nod and admitting he indulges in a spot of food porn himself sometimes.

His only stipulation - no flashes and don't disturb other eaters.

"I am more than happy to have people take photos of the food as it's a part of the modern dining experience," he told AAP.

"I also take photos and its great to look back on some of those great meals.

"As (Spanish chef Andoni Luis Aduriz) says: `a chef has a responsibility to document his or her life'.

"I don't see why anyone else shouldn't follow suit.

"As long as they aren't interfering with other diners, so no flash."

Another Australian chef, who did not want to be named, added: "I haven't got a problem with cameras at the table at all - just please be courteous to other diners."

French chefs have not gone so far as to ban cameras in their restaurants, but the devices are certainly discouraged in some eateries and they are banned in some US outlets.

Not everyone will agree of course, and you dear reader will have your own opinion about pictures at meal time.

But here's some food for thought: blogs and social media are generally excellent advertising for most restaurants, though admittedly it opens them up to criticism.

Mr Clark, who's been running foodmeupscotty.com from Brisbane since 2012, said one of the most important issues was to treat the food and other customers with respect.

He added: "I'll be heading off to France next year and hitting up a few restaurants on my travels.

"I'd consider not visiting L'Auberge du Vieux Putis and going somewhere else that was more open to having photos of the food taken, which for a three Michelin-starred restaurant with a long waiting list can probably survive.

"But not all restaurants can afford to be so choosy.

"As long as it's done respectfully and the photos are good quality, it's got to be a benefit for a restaurant."

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