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Is Posting Restaurant Pics Actionable


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#31 Jinmyo

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 09:50 AM

I hope that this thread keeps tabs on this situation as it develops and, hopefully, soon concludes.
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#32 DTBarton

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:02 AM

I believe this is the same chef that has been quoted in the Washington Post as saying she refuses to provide any extra condiments or anything to customers because the dishes are essentially perfect as delivered from the kitchen. So don't ask for salt, pepper, mustard (or horrors, ketchup).

Quite a departure from the customer is always right. I guess I understand the concern about having unlimited people on the web, who may or may not be knowledgeble or have an ax to grind, putting out pics and critiques of restaurants.

Seems like there's a better, less heavy handed way to handle it. but this method appears to be in keeping with Ms. Greenwood's track record.

#33 JanMcBaker

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:21 AM

So let me get this straight, according to Chef Greenwood's attorney Marvin "The Mangler" Wagner:

The food and contents of the said restaurant are propriatary and confidential.



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eeww....... so does this mean if you eat there, you can't take it with you? And if you can't, how, pray tell, does one leave it? :wacko:
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#34 Holly Moore

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:27 AM

Perhaps Chef Greenwood is a reincarnation of a long-gone, long-forgotten, chef-owner in Philadelphia who had a small place on Chestnut, just west of 2nd. He had all sorts of rules, two of which I remember. Only one guest at a table could order a chicken dish and no two guests could order the same entree.
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#35 monavano

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:35 AM

Perhaps Chef Greenwood is a reincarnation of a long-gone, long-forgotten, chef-owner in Philadelphia who had a small place on Chestnut, just west of 2nd.  He had all sorts of rules, two of which I remember.  Only one guest at a table could order a chicken dish and no two guests could order the same entree.

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No way!!....way? :blink:

#36 Swisskaese

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:37 AM

So let me get this straight, according to Chef Greenwood's attorney Marvin "The Mangler" Wagner:

The food and contents of the said restaurant are propriatary and confidential.



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eeww....... so does this mean if you eat there, you can't take it with you? And if you can't, how, pray tell, does one leave it? :wacko:

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Maybe they have a stomach pumping machine. I would be leary of eating there. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

What a sick woman she is? Who the hell does she think she is? Is this some El Bulli restaurant or Fish & Chips?

May her restaurant close soon.

#37 monavano

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:59 AM

Well, Swiss, she cooks because she's an artist, NOT because she wants to nuture you like a bubby. Personally, I prefer the latter.
I wonder after seeing a handful of responses from bloggers who've related similar reactions, if this is more prevalent in the US? Would we see camera weilding bloggers admonished or threatened in other countries? Is it a reflection of the letigious American nature?
I've been reflecting on the Studio Kitchen thread in the Pennsylvania forum, where diners post pics of every course at most every dinner event there. It's a real treat to see Shola's breathtaking work. And, it's spun off into another fantastic thread 'Inspired by Studio Kitchen" where meals and platings are prepared by home chefs attempting to duplicate offerings there. If this isn't the sincerest form of flattery, I don't know what is. Or, are these insipid dilettants infringing on Shola'a propriAtary food musings?? :rolleyes:

#38 andiesenji

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:21 AM

I don't know if any of you soCal folks are familiar with the Bicycle Shop Café on Wilshire. I haven't been there for a few years but always considered it a fun place with an interesting menu, including some of the best crab cakes outside of Louisiana.

I took some friends, who were visiting from Australia, to the place quite a few years ago - long before the advent of digital cameras - and hauled out my old Nikon and explained to our server that my friends were from Oz and wanted to document all the places they visited on their trip and the foods they tried.
He said there would be no problem, as long as I didn't take photos of the other patrons (a fair number of easily identifiable entertainment people frequented the place and wanted their privacy.)
I said all we wanted was photos of the food and my friends.
The manager came to the table a short time later with a couple of plates, one dark, one light, and asked on which one would be better to plate the food so my photos would come out best.
I felt that was extremely thoughtful and showed they thought of the customer first.

It was daytime, we were seated next to a window and I didn't require a flash and got beautiful pictures. I also got photos of many of the antique bicycles that hang from the ceiling and was invited by other patrons to take photos of dishes served at nearby tables after they learned that my friends were visitors from Oz. I also got photos of my friends with several of the staff and one of the staff took a photo of my friends and me.
It was a delightful experience and I have recommended the place many times because I do feel that it is a fun place, their food is priced at very reasonable rates and the service has always been excellent.
They will also prepare many of their menu items for takeout and I have taken advantage of this a few times over the years, usually when attending an event at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and meeting out of town friends. I have never been disappointed.

I don't understand why a chef would not want photos of their specialties in circulation. In my opinion, if the plating is attractive and the patron reports the food is good, that would seem to be as good as paid advertising, better, because it is unsolicited.

I know that I have seen photos here on eG that have certainly made me want to visit the places where the particular food was served.

Perhaps it is paranoia of some kind.

I wonder if they never have Japanese tourists in the restaurant, because they take photos of everything!
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#39 docsconz

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:32 AM

As one who likes to take restaurant photos of food and kitchens I generally ask if the restaurant minds unless I already know they don't mind, although I must admit I have not asked on every occassion. The only time I started photographing and was asked to stop was at Per Se shortly after it re-opened (No, I was not using flash). They did ask in a nice way and I complied without a problem. They did later let me take photos in the kitchen, though. I have had restaurants refuse to let me take photos when i have asked - most recently at Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn when I asked if I could photograph the making of the pizzas and the oven. They had no problem with my taking photos of our own pizza, however.

I respect a restaurant/chef's desire to not have photos of their work published or taken, but this is a new low. My own personal preference is to patronize places that cater to my artistic needs (folly or not that they are) in addition to my gastronomic needs.
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#40 monavano

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:43 AM

As one who likes to take restaurant photos of food and kitchens I generally ask if the restaurant minds unless I already know they don't mind, although I must admit I have not asked on every occassion. The only time I started photographing and was asked to stop was at Per Se shortly after it re-opened (No, I was not using flash). They did ask in a nice way and I complied without a problem. They did later let me take photos in the kitchen, though. I have had restaurants refuse to let me take photos when i have asked - most recently at Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn when I asked if I could photograph the making of the pizzas and the oven. They had no problem with my taking photos of our own pizza, however.

I respect a restaurant/chef's desire to not have photos of their work published or taken, but this is a new low. My own personal preference is to patronize places that cater to my artistic needs (folly or not that they are) in addition to my gastronomic needs.

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Ah!! the chef is not the only ARTEEST in this equation :wink:

#41 rich

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:44 AM

Welcome

Life is a caberet - come to the caberet.

Come hear the band, come drink the wine.

Come blow your horn, start celebrating.

Right this way, your table's waiting.

But, please no photography.
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#42 Daniel Rogov

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:59 AM

As we discussed on another thread, I am not generally in favor of photographing one's dishes in restaurants, believing that professionals will/should have their photographers contact the restaurants after they have dined there and arranging a time that is convenient for all to do such photographs. Agreed, I am not completely pedantic on this though, believing firmly in "different strokes for different folkis"

I do believe a restaurant has the right to request that photos not be taken in their establishment, and that if so stated that should be respected. From an entirely moral and not at all legal point of view, however, once people are allowed to photograph dishes in their establishments the photos become the property of the photographer and can, unless the dish is specifically copywritten, be used in whatever manner the photographer wishes.

As to chefs that are idiosynratic, what can I say othher than some of the best chefs I have met a probably certifiable. And believe me, when I use that term it is meant as a compliment to their abilities. It's only when the ego of the chef (or for that matter, the critic) outgrows the size of their body that I start to have problems.

And if all of that isn't controversial enough....as a very personal statement, I'd no sooner photograph my dishes in a restaurant than I would pose in the nude while standing in the middle of Times Square or the Ginza. And believe me, I have no intention whatever or ever being found nude in Times Square or the Ginza. :rolleyes:

#43 Daniel

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 12:09 PM

DCFoodie.. You know what they say, no press is bad press.. I would take this to a newspaper.. It can only make people aware of your website!

Is this Chef the owner of the restaurant. Because I wonder what the restaurants opinion on the matter, or who is the true owner of the intellectual property..

#44 divalasvegas

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 12:28 PM

As one who likes to take restaurant photos of food and kitchens I generally ask if the restaurant minds unless I already know they don't mind, although I must admit I have not asked on every occassion. The only time I started photographing and was asked to stop was at Per Se shortly after it re-opened (No, I was not using flash). They did ask in a nice way and I complied without a problem. They did later let me take photos in the kitchen, though. I have had restaurants refuse to let me take photos when i have asked - most recently at Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn when I asked if I could photograph the making of the pizzas and the oven. They had no problem with my taking photos of our own pizza, however.

I respect a restaurant/chef's desire to not have photos of their work published or taken, but this is a new low. My own personal preference is to patronize places that cater to my artistic needs (folly or not that they are) in addition to my gastronomic needs.

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I've never tried taking photos in a restaurant before. There have been many positive, a few negative, and the downright bizarre (see the link to Holly Moore's experience upthread) reports on eG about taking pictures which left me feeling somewhat iffy about ever attempting to try it, so I really appreciate your comments docsconz which seem common-sense, practical and respectful of the owner's/manager's wishes.

But like monvano who made these remarks earlier in this thread,

I've been reflecting on the Studio Kitchen thread in the Pennsylvania forum, where diners post pics of every course at most every dinner event there. It's a real treat to see Shola's breathtaking work. And, it's spun off into another fantastic thread 'Inspired by Studio Kitchen" where meals and platings are prepared by home chefs attempting to duplicate offerings there. If this isn't the sincerest form of flattery, I don't know what is. Or, are these insipid dilettants infringing on Shola'a propriAtary food musings??



I'm still hard-pressed to understand what exactly people like her are afraid of and why can't they see the upside of such (pun intended) exposure for their food. Oh, if only people could be more like Shola. :smile:
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#45 menton1

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 12:29 PM

We've turned a legal question into an ethical discussion...

More to the point of the original poster, I am waiting to learn if the person posting their personal photos from inside a restaurant can possibly be a loser in a lawsuit-- what laws would they have broken, and how is that any different from the stuff the Paparazzi do every day?

#46 divalasvegas

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:13 PM

As to chefs that are idiosynratic, what can I say othher than some of the best chefs I have met a probably certifiable.  And believe me, when I use that term it is meant as a compliment to their abilities.  It's only when the ego of the chef (or for that matter, the critic) outgrows the size of their body that I start to have problems.

And if all of that isn't controversial enough....as a very personal statement, I'd no sooner photograph my dishes in a restaurant than I would pose in the nude while standing in the middle of Times Square or the Ginza.  And believe me, I have no intention whatever or ever being found nude in Times Square or the Ginza.  :rolleyes:

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As for egotisical chefs or obnoxious restaurant staff in general, I absolutely agree. I for one have no desire to put up with any kind of "Soup Nazi" type experience when dining.

And regarding the last part of your post re: Times Square/the Ginza, I can only say, damn, too bad. Oh well, a girl can always hope! :smile:
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#47 bergerka

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:16 PM

Just out of curiosity, has anyone invited the chef to come to eG and post her side of things?

...I don't think her behavior was appropriate. I'm just curious as to her justification. If it's more of that "I'm an artist, I don't do this for you" crap, we can all just roll our eyes. Like this. :rolleyes: I react the same way to classical singers who speak of "the voice" and their "artistry" in hushed tones...oh, PUHLEASE...

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#48 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:20 PM

For those who don't follow the DC-area food scene (I do since I have family down there), CG is known for her, um, shall we say, ATTITUDE.  I've yet to eat in her restaurant because I don't like what I've read about her (i.e. many rules in her restaurant, lack of flexibility), but I've also read that her food is good.  Despite all of this, she does manage to stay in business.

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She's also on her 4th place in 10-12 years. (The place on K Street; then the one on CT where Palena is now; then Greenwood on CT which is now Buck's...)

There are too many good places in DC to spend my money to deal with her attitude and overpriced food.

#49 CaliPoutine

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:22 PM

When It was my turn to blog over here on egullet, we planned an outing to an Italian restaurant in London, ON. I called ahead to ask if I they minded if I take pictures and I explained why I was doing it. The manager called me back and said " No, you cant take pictures, because you arent a profesional food stylist and they dont want amatuer pics on the web".

Needless to say, we didnt eat there.

#50 marinade

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:32 PM

Perhaps Chef Greenwood is a reincarnation of a long-gone, long-forgotten, chef-owner in Philadelphia who had a small place on Chestnut, just west of 2nd.  He had all sorts of rules, two of which I remember.  Only one guest at a table could order a chicken dish and no two guests could order the same entree.

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No way!!....way? :blink:

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Yeah way... the Turkish restaurant's name was Dardanelle's. If you sent something back he'd send you out the door!!! His wife, who worked the front of the house was a practising dominatrix. Can't imagine how they tenderized chickens.

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#51 Pontormo

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 02:06 PM

Listen, you all. I have to dash and get something done before 5 PM, so I will be brief here, though there really is not much to tell.

However, I called the attorney and spoke to him at length about the situation. He is not someone who feels very computer literate, so I talked him through the steps he needed to take to find this thread and to click the link to DcFoodie's blog.

He chuckled quite a bit, but mostly was startled to see what interest has been generated by the matter. He had absolutely no idea. Were I to characterize his reaction in one word, I would say "astonishment." There was absolutely no rancor or distress, just surprise. O, brave new world!...that sort of thing, if not quite voiced with Miranda's enchanted delight.

I gather, though I hasten to add this is an impression and not a confirmed fact, that he considers the matter closed. DCFoodie says he will not post the photographs and the attorney has no reason not to take him at his word.

The lawyer respects his client enormously and is very aware of ALL aspects of her reputation. He is most proud of her standing with the critic of The Washington Post and quotes the first line of one of his reviews from memory, with warmth in his voice. I had too much respect for the nature of attorney-client privilege to probe very much. Perhaps he is a brilliant actor who is trying to come across as a simple country guy who enjoys being paid in delicious meals instead of cash every so often. However, I also got the impression that he hasn't analyzed his client's motives and feelings at great length, let alone all the ghastly nuances of the situation since he thought this a minor incident and the matter had been addressed.

Now that he has seen his posted letter and is aware of eGullet, he will let Ms. Greenwood know that her actions have generated this much heated discussion.
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#52 divalasvegas

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 02:20 PM

Listen, you all.  I have to dash and get something done before 5 PM, so I will be brief here, though there really is not much to tell.

However, I called the attorney and spoke to him at  length about the situation.  He is not someone who feels very computer literate, so I talked him through the steps he needed to take to find this thread and to click the link to DcFoodie's blog.

He chuckled quite a bit, but mostly was startled to see what interest has been generated by the matter.  He had absolutely no idea.  Were I to characterize his reaction in one word, I would say "astonishment."  There was absolutely no rancor or distress, just surprise.  O, brave new world!...that sort of thing, if not quite voiced with Miranda's enchanted delight.

I gather, though I hasten to add this is an impression and not a confirmed fact, that he considers the matter closed.  DCFoodie says he will not post the photographs and the attorney has no reason not to take him at his word.

The lawyer respects his client enormously and is very aware of ALL aspects of her reputation.  He is most proud of her standing with the critic of The Washington Post and quotes the first line of one of his reviews from memory, with warmth in his voice.  I had too much respect for the nature of attorney-client privilege to probe very much.  Perhaps he is a brilliant actor who is trying to come across as a simple country guy who enjoys being paid in delicious meals instead of cash every so often.  However, I also got the impression that he hasn't analyzed his client's motives and feelings at great length, let alone all the ghastly nuances of the situation since he thought this a minor incident and the matter had been addressed.

Now that he has seen his posted letter and is aware of eGullet, he will let Ms. Greenwood know that her actions have generated this much heated discussion.

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Well, I'll be even briefer: YOU GO GIRL!
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#53 rocketman

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 02:46 PM

As one who likes to take restaurant photos of food and kitchens I generally ask if the restaurant minds unless I already know they don't mind, although I must admit I have not asked on every occassion. The only time I started photographing and was asked to stop was at Per Se shortly after it re-opened (No, I was not using flash). They did ask in a nice way and I complied without a problem. They did later let me take photos in the kitchen, though. I have had restaurants refuse to let me take photos when i have asked - most recently at Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn when I asked if I could photograph the making of the pizzas and the oven. They had no problem with my taking photos of our own pizza, however.

I respect a restaurant/chef's desire to not have photos of their work published or taken, but this is a new low. My own personal preference is to patronize places that cater to my artistic needs (folly or not that they are) in addition to my gastronomic needs.

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Like to know what everyone thinks about TK not allowing pictures in his restaurant. Lots of you just butchered this woman who has the same policy and is not scared to follow through on her policy. Some called for a boycott. Shouldnt Thomas Keller now be put in the same category. Should we now not patronize Per Se. Fat Guy, what do you think? What about others. Lets not be scared of TK now folks. Lets pick on everyone equally.

RM

#54 bilrus

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:01 PM

Like to know what everyone thinks about TK not allowing pictures in his restaurant.  Lots of you just butchered this woman who has the same policy and is not scared to follow through on her policy.  Some called for a boycott.  Shouldnt Thomas Keller now be put in the same category. Should we now not patronize Per Se.  Fat Guy, what do you think?  What about others.  Lets not be scared of TK now folks.  Lets pick on everyone equally. 

RM

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I think this is the key difference here:

The only time I started photographing and was asked to stop was at Per Se shortly after it re-opened (No, I was not using flash). They did ask in a nice way and I complied without a problem. They did later let me take photos in the kitchen, though.


Much different than a litigious letter.

And part of the reason for the uproar, at least in DC circles, is that this plays right into the reputation Chef Greenwood has and has earned and, for all accounts, takes great pride in.
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#55 Busboy

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:16 PM

An amusing and detailed account of the incident by DCFoodie's wife, amalah, here.

Which raises the question: with all the blogging they do, how did they have time to have a baby?
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#56 mrbigjas

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:17 PM

An amusing and detailed account of the incident by DCFoodie's wife, amala, here.

Which raises the question: with all the blogging they do, how did they have time to have a baby?

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what do you mean? it only takes a few minu.... uh, i've said too much already.

#57 rocketman

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:22 PM

Like to know what everyone thinks about TK not allowing pictures in his restaurant.  Lots of you just butchered this woman who has the same policy and is not scared to follow through on her policy.  Some called for a boycott.  Shouldnt Thomas Keller now be put in the same category. Should we now not patronize Per Se.   Fat Guy, what do you think?  What about others.  Lets not be scared of TK now folks.   Lets pick on everyone equally. 

RM

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I think this is the key difference here:

The only time I started photographing and was asked to stop was at Per Se shortly after it re-opened (No, I was not using flash). They did ask in a nice way and I complied without a problem. They did later let me take photos in the kitchen, though.


Much different than a litigious letter.

And part of the reason for the uproar, at least in DC circles, is that this plays right into the reputation Chef Greenwood has and has earned and, for all accounts, takes great pride in.

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No difference in my opinion. If fact, one might say this was expected from Chef Greenwood and not from TK so does this make TK a little less California......a little less laid back, perhaps a little more like Chef Greenwood. No telling if a litigious letter would have followed if he had not stopped taking the picutres.

Further, this thread is not really about Chef Greenwood. It has turned into a thread about the rights of the consumer or eater to photograph the food we are purchasing. In that light, I ask the question of whether TK and Per Se have gone to far in asking people not to take pictures their food that notwithstanding quality costs a ton. It is the same thing that Chef Greewood. Why would the reaction be any different from the people on this board?

RM

#58 Tess

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:45 PM

Further, this thread is not really about Chef Greenwood.  It has turned into a thread about the rights of the consumer or eater to photograph the food we are purchasing.  In that light, I ask the question of whether TK and Per Se have gone to far in asking people not to take pictures their food that notwithstanding quality costs a ton.  It is the same thing that Chef Greewood.  Why would the reaction be any different from the people on this board?

RM

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Because of the way the matter was handled?

#59 Holly Moore

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:55 PM

I had a similar situation at Trio when Grant Athatz was still cooking there. I asked the maitre d' if it was permissable to take pictures. He said they preferred photos not be snapped in the dining room, but if I would loan him my camera he'd give it to Grant who would snap pics of my meal. I did, he did, Grant did. Grant also included some behind-the-scenes pics of the kitchen.

In a restaurant like Trio, Per Se or the French Laundry they have every right to expect a level of decorum that does not include flash bulbs a popping all over the dining room. I think that expectation diminishes with the level of cuisine. But both Trio and Per Se were willing to take pictures of their "art." And both Trio and Per Se handled the situation with grace.

That is a world of difference from a "chef-the artist" throwing a dining room temper tantrum followed up by a baseless lawyer letter.
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#60 bilrus

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:57 PM

No difference in my opinion. If fact, one might say this was expected from Chef Greenwood and not from TK so does this make TK a little less California......a little less laid back, perhaps a little more like Chef Greenwood.  No telling if a litigious letter would have followed if he had not stopped taking the picutres.

Further, this thread is not really about Chef Greenwood.  It has turned into a thread about the rights of the consumer or eater to photograph the food we are purchasing.  In that light, I ask the question of whether TK and Per Se have gone to far in asking people not to take pictures their food that notwithstanding quality costs a ton.  It is the same thing that Chef Greewood.  Why would the reaction be any different from the people on this board?

RM

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In my opinion, no, Keller and Per Se have not goe too far. If that is their policy, and they are up front about it, so be it. You don't have to agree with it or understand the reasons behind it, you can even complain about it, but you do have to respect it.

Edited by bilrus, 03 January 2006 - 03:58 PM.

Bill Russell