The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Camera or no?

June 17, 2011

Did anyone get a chance to read Grubstreet a few days ago? They had an interesting post about taking pictures in restaurants. This is something that’s been on my mind lately as I work to review certain events and restaurants.

I still haven’t gotten to the point where I am comfortable whipping out my point and shoot and going at my food vogue style for 10 minutes until I get something usable. I am not a photographer so these things do not come easily and I am more that aware of the irritancy a picture, a flash, or the jostling for the cell phone can cause while you’re trying to enjoy your $20 entrée.

The article had a several interesting takes on this. A select few chefs have banned the use of cameras in their dining rooms – among them David Chan’s Momofuku Ko and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Alinea forbids flashes and tripods, and Corton forbids its guests from using flashes. A few restaurants admitted to keeping an eye on photographers.

Taking photos, any photos when out and about is something that has always annoyed me. I’ve had several friends throughout my lifetime who have gone through picture phases. There’s been the “Oh my god! We’re having fried chicken we have to take a picture – it’s a WEDNESDAY!!” And the “OMG, it’s THURSDAY! We’re having martinis on a rooftop we go to all the time we HAVE to take a picture.” What follows are: odd looks from men we had hoped to pick up, scoffs from women who we had hoped to chat to about their purse and an overall nose up at the disturbance the flash is causing. Never mind a headache, a complete break in the conversation and flow of the evening.

The concept of photographing your food is something completely different yet, has the same effect. My main problem with it is that the food never looks as good as it does on your plate. Without the correct lighting, a badass camera and someone who knows how to use it, your $18 gastro pub lamb burger with thrice-cooked fries from the Breslin could end up looking like a Happy Meal. And who wants that?

Turns out, the chefs least of all. One of the main reasons listed for banning and/or limiting photos is to control the image of the restaurant. Surprisingly enough, this isn’t something I had really considered yet it makes complete sense. Chefs are artists in their own way, especially in New York. Why would someone like César Ramirez of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare want images of his 18-course meal, that people make reservations for two months in advance, floating unprofessionally around the interweb?

A blogger from LA chimed into the conversation saying that he often calls in advance and when he is shooting, he asked for a seat by the window for the good light, that’s far away from other customers if possible. That sounds like a nice guy.

Good rules to live by people.


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Cesar Ramirez’ meal at Brooklyn Fare is now comprised of approximately 22 courses.
I lost count.


June 20, 2011

Oh wow – 22 courses. I can’t imagine. I need to get there!


June 28, 2011

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