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John Campbell at Coworth Park


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As eager as the next food obsessive and an avid restaurant collector, my quest to add newly Michelin starred Coworth Park,( or should that really be John Campbell ) to my conquests has stalled.

I booked a table for this Saturday lunch, and requested a table with good light preferably near a window. Asked why, I replied that I would like to take a few photos of the food.

Well. " Can you hold the line please"

Long pause.

"Sorry Sir photos are not allowed in the restaurant. I have just spoken to PR and they can supply you with photos if you wish"

"Can I have a word with PR please?"

As much as I pleaded with PR for common sense, and my request that they consult with another level, they phoned me back today to reiterate the ban.

Guess what? I cancelled.

I am not making a round trip journey of nearly seven hours to review a restaurant which steadfastly sticks to this rule.

Of course they have the right to impose what restrictions they like but I wonder if John Campbell has anything to do with it. I doubt it very much. I suspect like most chefs he would like his creations shown off to the wider world.

Has anyone else been, or wish to comment.

Photos would be nice too :laugh::wink:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Er ... maybe I'm missing something but what's the big deal if they offered to email you their own photos?

It would be most unusual for them to have all or even any of the dishes in there photo archive. Plus they will most certainly not go to the trouble of taking photos of the dishes that we may eat on the day.

From a review point of view, this is for me a pointless exercise.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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There is always the possibility he doesnt want his 'creations' represented by amateur photography, having presumably put a fair bit of work into them

You could try reviewing with words, radical I know, but it has apparently worked before.

s

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I'm sure I recall a thread (here or Chowhound) about one of the "big name" Chinese places in London which does not permit photography and actively tackles punters who try to take piccies.

John Hartley

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There is always the possibility he doesn't want his 'creations' represented by amateur photography, having presumably put a fair bit of work into them

This is the most reasonable perspective I can think of, too. No matter how many assurances one may make that he/she is a good photographer, the chef really won't know until he sees the photos. And if they're (as you said) amateurish and poor representations of his/her work, then it's already too late to say 'oh, hey, could you go ahead and not run that?'

You could try reviewing with words, radical I know, but it has apparently worked before.

I'm not sure he was planning on making it a solely pictorial review. To me it seems that good photos always add to good writing - a picture, a thousand words, and all that ...

Edited because I'm a poor proofer.

Edited by Rico (log)

 

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Hi David ,

It has nothing to do with your photography skills. From some of your past post I am sure your photos would be better than their stock PR ones.

But it has everything to do with the fact you might be taking photos of who is dining with whom at the other tables! Or maybe that should be who should not be dining with whom.

The fact that you asked first is I suspect the problem. Most professional Restaurant Managers would not stop a customer taking a few discreet photos of the dishes being delivered to the table. But if a regular ‘personality’ was in the dining room? No way.

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I am not making a round trip journey of nearly seven hours to review a restaurant which steadfastly sticks to this rule.

What I find strange about this is that you are eating out simply to provide reviews :wacko: How about going along simply to enjoy a meal without having to make it public?

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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My experiance of Campbells cooking at the vineyard on several occasions is that his skills are very variable I have had fair meals from him and some embarrassingly bad when taking guests.Complained and was shown round the kitchens at end of service,best part of evening.He has inflated ideas of his own importance you have not missed anything David. :rolleyes:

Sid the Pig

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Thanks very much for your replies. Its good to see things from someone else's point of view.

Of course that is what egullet is all about, food, eating it, discussing it, dreaming about it, (sometimes), and whist I do not always agree with what is written I have to respect everyone's perspective.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I am not making a round trip journey of nearly seven hours to review a restaurant which steadfastly sticks to this rule.

What I find strange about this is that you are eating out simply to provide reviews :wacko: How about going along simply to enjoy a meal without having to make it public?

I also find this absolutely bizarre. Why would you boycott a restaurant based on not being able to take photos? If all restaurants banned photography would you stop eating out?

So whether you go or not we will not see any photos,however if you did go you may have actually enjoyed yourself and the food experience.

I think your reaction reveals something about your motivations for eating out.

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I ate there today. The shire menu, 25 quid. It was quite nice.

We got a couple of canapes, a nice amuse, starters were a ham terrine and wild mushrooms with crisp egg. Mains, a beef cheek with smoked mashed potato and palace with herb crust. We also took one cheese plate and one apple dessert. There was also a gin cocktail included, and coffee and p/f's.

I will add more another time.

Martin

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I ate there today. The shire menu, 25 quid. It was quite nice.

We got a couple of canapes, a nice amuse, starters were a ham terrine and wild mushrooms with crisp egg. Mains, a beef cheek with smoked mashed potato and palace with herb crust. We also took one cheese plate and one apple dessert. There was also a gin cocktail included, and coffee and p/f's.

I will add more another time.

Did you get any photos? :laugh:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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It is not unusual for starred dining rooms in France to prohibit photography. The reasons given range from discouraging downscale kitchens' attempting crass imitation, protecting the visual space of other diners, insuring the ephemeral joy of surprise for future diners.

I would think that most passionate chefs hope that diners visit in order to enjoy a delicious and convivial table with friends and family. All else is media.

Edited by Margaret Pilgrim (log)

eGullet member #80.

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Whatever happened to common sense? I think it's perfectly obvious if a lens is pointed at a table or at someone else in the dining room, especially in restaurants like John Campbell where the front of house staffing will no doubt be into double figures; that's plenty of eyes to check if there is any indiscretion going on. It would be immediately clear who's there for the food or to celeb spot. Not that I'd presume this is the new Ivy, has the West End decamped to Ascot all of a sudden?

We live in a multi-media age, odds on if someone wants to take photos they're going to be blogging and spreading awareness. Just look at the L'Enclume thread for how this can be a massive positive for and on behalf of the restaurant. I would have thought John Campbell would have welcomed the exposure. It hasn't exactly set the gastronomic blogosphere alight since it opened and this could very well be the reason why.

Edited by marcusjames (log)
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We live in a multi-media age, odds on if someone wants to take photos they're going to be blogging and spreading awareness. Just look at the L'Enclume thread for how this can be a massive positive for and on behalf of the restaurant. I would have thought John Campbell would have welcomed the exposure. It hasn't exactly set the gastronomic blogosphere alight since it opened and this could very well be the reason why.

This is true but you can also find some blogs/posts that have bloody awful photos that do nothing to encourage people to go eat there (I'm not including David's photos amongst this category).

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I think this opens-up a wider debate about how willing restaurants are to embrace social media Matthew.

Personally, I think well presented executed food is just that, poor photography may not help, but it still tends to look good. It's those kitchens who are genuinely without any ability who have most to fear. You can't polish a turd as they say.

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It's also possible that they have a 'no photography' policy without one, because there are rather a lot of high-profile people who won't eat at a place that doesn't have this policy.

Are there? I've not come across many restaurants that have such a policy - at least not ones which have been obvious. Maybe they are carving out a niche for famous people to go for a bit of privacy.. :hmmm:

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I think this opens-up a wider debate about how willing restaurants are to embrace social media Matthew.

Personally, I think well presented executed food is just that, poor photography may not help, but it still tends to look good. It's those kitchens who are genuinely without any ability who have most to fear. You can't polish a turd as they say.

Well presented photographed food is the

Perfect way to " polish a turd". A lot of dishes

Can appear beautiful but taste like shit.

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I am not making a round trip journey of nearly seven hours to review a restaurant....

I couldn't agree more. I have, however, done just that to experience food and ambiance.

Agreed. I certainly wouldn't want to drive all that way to enjoy a meal, and then be seated anywhere near some "food obsessive and avid restaurant collector" snapping pictures of their meal.

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Well presented photographed food is the

Perfect way to " polish a turd". A lot of dishes

Can appear beautiful but taste like shit.

Not to contradict myself but I kind of agree with that. However, considering the restaurants we're talking about here I think those cases are exceptionally rare. And let's not forget in this context these photos are coming with the write-up itself, leaving little room for good looking, yet vacant dishes to hide.

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