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Is Posting Restaurant Pics Actionable

160 posts in this topic

I posted this on an earlier Greenwood's thread, now mostly out of date, here.

"I don't cook to make people happy. I cook because I'm an artist. And food is my medium. I have no need to nurture the world. 'You're in the service industry.' I didn't get into it to serve people. I got into it because it was the least objectionable commercial enterprise I could think of."

Carole Greenwood, Washington City Paper, 4/5/04

You have to respect her chutzpa.

A similar thing happened to me several weeks ago. Unfortunately, we had just been served the appetizers and I hadn't even had the chance to try them. The owner came over and was immediately insulting. When he asked me to either stop taking pictures or leave I assume he imagined that I would stop taking pictures. I decided to leave but he wasn't satisfied. When I wouldn't erase the pictures that I'd already taken he snatched my camera. I think we both threatened to call the police and I think we both did. The police officer told them to get my camera and then had to tell them a second time more assertively. He asked me to erase them as a personal favor.

The pictures are on flickr. I also wrote a lengthy blog post. Realistically a couple dozen people may have seen the pictures on flickr but I didn't post it along with the story. The blog post had an even smaller audience. Not very satisfying retribution.

The proprietors' reasoning in the DC case and in my case is just baffling. There's absolutely no upside to their policy and so many downs that I stutter when I try to articulate them.

Anyway, the legal issues seem to be fairly well covered by other posters. It was perfectly natural to assume that I could take pictures as I'd done it a hundred times before. They had the right to ask us to leave but the pictures are ours.

So, if you're ever in Cleveland don't go to Taza. The labneh is pretty good but the staff isn't particularly hospitable.

But mostly, I'm jealous. I want a cease and desist letter.

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I'd not take it out on the attorney, though... just doing what his client was itching to pay him $$$ to do.

A good attorney talks his clients out of doing stupid things!


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'd not take it out on the attorney, though... just doing what his client was itching to pay him $$$ to do.

A good attorney talks his clients out of doing stupid things!

Double amen to that! I work for an attorney (dad) and he always advises his clients when they're doing something stupid. If they still insist, he shows them door and recommends they go elsewhere.

Well, if Carol Greenwood wanted to do reverse psychology to generate publicity for her restaurant, she's certainly doing it. Or maybe she subscribes to there is no such thing as bad publicity? Sheesh. And they talk about us musicians being divas and having too much artistic temperment!

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I find this topic fascinating. My lawyer husband is no help...he says that owners of private property have the right to make the rules. So my question is what about take-out? How silly is it that we can be banned from photographing food INSIDE the restaurant but not outside?


Lobster.

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This is utter BS. That chef must have been at the end of a very bad day. They don't have a leg to stand on. A posted no-photograzphs zone would give them a figleaf of legal argument, but the assertion is ridiculous on its face and would be laughed out of any court it was filed in.

Are birthday/wedding/anniversary dinner photos banned too?

Crazy.

Chef meltdowns are never pretty.

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


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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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.

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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.

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:


"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)

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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.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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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.

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

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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.

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:

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.

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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:

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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!


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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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.

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

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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.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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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:

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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..

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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.

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:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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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?

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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:

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:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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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...

K


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Gruyere cheese angelhair please

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

The Fish Nazi

edited for link


Edited by marinade (log)

Jim Tarantino

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