La Grenouillère menus show pictogram of camera with line through it as chef wants diners to eat food, not photograph
Chef Alexandre Gauthier has a helpful suggestion for diners at his Michelin-starred restaurant: eat.
It may be stating the obvious, but Gauthier says he has noticed some customers seem more interested in photographing their food than putting it in their mouths.
He said: "They used to come and take pictures of themselves and their family, their grandmother, whoever, as a souvenir. Now they take pictures of the food, they put it on Facebook or Twitter, they comment. And then food is cold."
The masters of gastronomy in the land of haute cuisine are attempting to bring about a mini revolution and get diners to put down their phones and pick up their knives and forks.
At Gauthier's restaurant, La Grenouillère in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil in northern France, the menus contain a small pictogram of a camera with a line through it.
He said: "I would like people to be living in the present. Tweet about the meal beforehand, tweet about it afterwards, but in between stop and eat. Sitting down for a meal should be an enjoyable moment shared with us, not with the social network. Instead of enjoying the moment they are elsewhere. But it is a minority of diners."
Gauthier denied reports he was among a band of grumpy chefs who had the huff over diners sharing pictures of food on social networks because it infringed their copyright.
Gauthier said: "For me, that's not at all the problem. I have not banned photographs at all. I'm just suggesting diners disconnect and live for now. At least just the time it takes to enjoy dinner."
At the L'Auberge du Vieux Puits in southern France, chef Gilles Goujon feared snaps of dishes and instantly transmitting them on social media would spoil it for other diners.
"It takes away the surprise," Goujon told French journalists. "It's difficult to forbid it. I'm looking for a sentence to write but I haven't yet found the right words that won't be too shocking."
Last month the New York Times suggested some restaurants in Manhattan had taken to banning diners from shooting their food after some came armed with flexible tripods and began standing on chairs to get an aerial view of their plates.
Gauthier added: "People come from London and Paris to eat here, some drive for two or three hours. All we are saying is disconnect, just for the time it takes to eat."
Photo: Alexandre Gauthier says diners can tweet about meals at La Grenouillère before or after eating, but in between he wants them to stop and eat. Photograph: Cyrille Weiner