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Here’s What Chefs Really Think About Your Food Instagram Habit

Food pics on Instagram feeds can sate even the biggest visual appetite. Search a hashtag such as #food or #restaurant and you’ll find the world represented through its dishes. A sweet bun served up in a village tea house in Myanmar, a high-concept amuse bouche straight from Paris, a mile-high roadhouse burger from somewhere along Route 66—there’s something for every taste.

But what do chefs think of the rise of dining-room social media? I asked 9 chefs around North America to weigh in. Here’s what they said:

“Chefs, being the biggest culprits of both awesome and awful food ‘gramming, seem pretty tolerant to such similar obsessions of the amateur or home cook. What’s nice though is when those shots are accompanied by a fun or funny one liner or word making the experience slightly more entertaining.  Too often posts are just too earnest. In the end there’s little time to forge a strong opinion given the vast amount of content on Instagram and the speed with which we cruise through it all.”

Hugue Dufour, Chef and Owner, M. Wells Steakhouse and M. Wells Dinette, Long Island City, New York

“First of all, I’m as guilty as the next person of doing this. Instagram is so fun! But in that same breath I think we all need to live in the moment a little more and not document every single thing we do. But if we are going to document a particularly special moment or meal I only have a couple concerns: 1- Don’t let the food get cold! Take your snap then put the phone away and post it later. Eat the food while it’s at its best. Enjoy your company and the environment.  2- Make sure to use good lighting! 3- Tag us if you are posting it online (see number two before you tag though … make the photo worthwhile to be posted).”

 Liz Sassen, Owner, Homestead, Oakland, California

“It can be funny sometimes when you see a person shining a light on your dish and another person is taking a picture. But it doesn’t bother me at all. Social media is a much larger conversation. Tech is such a part of our lives that it’s just part of the world we live in. I have a new Instagram habit, now it’s my way of telling the story through my life of food, not just my food—it’s less about pictures of my recipes and more about farms I visit and fishermen I’m out on the boats with.”

Ned Bell, Ocean Wise Executive Chef, Vancouver Aquarium

“I think it’s great for customers to shoot photos of food, but hopefully they will also eat it before it gets cold. Remember kids, here are the steps–shoot your pics, eat and enjoy your food while it’s fresh, post to social media between courses, or after your meal!”

Bruce Hill, San Francisco Chef/Restauranteur/Inventor

“When patrons whip out their phone and start taking pictures I have mixed feelings, but honestly the first is a sense of pride because I have created a beautiful photo-worthy dish. I think it’s a little funny as well but as someone who also takes photos of food I get it.”

Emily Sarlatte, Chef and Owner, La Marcha, Berkeley, California

“While I totally appreciate any promotion that comes from social media, I wish people would just eat their food before it gets cold. I think there are definitely some special meals that should be posted, I can’t believe people think that anybody cares about the sandwich they’re eating on a Tuesday. Put the phone down and eat.”

Jeff Fitzgerald, Executive chef, Black Sheep Brasserie, San Jose, California

“Instagram provides us with a forum to post our ever-changing seasonal menu items, specials and other photos and directly reach out customers. It’s also great for me and our chefs to see what other restaurants and chefs are doing to keep our menus fresh and exciting.”

Nicole Brisson, Culinary Director, B&B Hospitality Group, Las Vegas

“Taking pictures of the food you eat is great because it can help you examine that memory or recall that experience, but a photograph is not an accurate encapsulation of the dining experience. The sum product of a restaurant is very much more than can be captured and conveyed in one still image, and it would be nearly impossible to depict such an encompassing interaction with just a photo.”

Milo Carrier, Sous Chef, Boulevard Restaurant, San Francisco, California

“Cooking is my art—I will always be humbled and flattered when I can share my creativity and artistry.”

Chad Blunston, Executive Chef, Claremont Hotel & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel, Berkeley, California

“I love it when Instagrammers shoot photos their food! Especially when one person holds a light for them to take a better shot of it, so they don’t have to use their flash. They’re ‘selfies for food,’ as my daughter says.”

Sophina Uong, Executive Chef, Calavera, Oakland, California

More from SmarterTravel:

Christine Sarkis loves eating, and loves Instagram, but only combines the two occasionally. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.

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