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Roux brothers ban diners from photographing food

Diners at one of the Roux family’s Michelin-starred restaurants have been banned from taking pictures of their food, with Michel Roux believing it is a distraction that fails to capture the flavours in the food.

Michel and Albert Roux

The three-Michelin-starred The Waterside Inn in Bray has discouraged diners from taking photographs of their food for some time. However a sign has now been erected to politely inform customers that whipping out their phones to capture their culinary highlights, invariably to share them to their Instagram account, is not acceptable.

“I’m really getting so upset about people taking pictures. We put up a card at the door – ‘No photos, please,’” Michel Roux told The Daily Mail.

“What are they doing? Maybe once during the meal you want to take a little photo of something because it’s unusual. But what about the flavours? A picture on a phone cannot possibly capture the flavours.”

Michel Roux founded The Waterside Inn with his brother, Albert, whose son is Michel Roux Jr, chef patron of Le Gavroche in London.

His approach to photographing food has been a little more relaxed in the past, explaining last year: “If someone’s phone goes off, we look at them as if to say, ‘Switch that off or it goes in the ice bucket,” adding: “I don’t mind people taking pictures. I’ve been known to do it myself.”

A trend for photographing food has grown enormously since the dawn of Instagram, along with social media, which has helped propel many restaurants and drinks brands propel their business into the minds of consumers.

And while the practice of photographing one’s food can be a sour point for some restaurateurs, others working in the food and drink industry have embraced the trend, using it to their advantage – in particular cocktail culture.

Last year William Grant & Sons market report advised the UK on-trade to be aware of the need to offer ‘Instagrammable’ serves to capture the attention of consumers, particulalry the millennial market, who often make their food and beverage choices via their experience of a brand on social media.

The Waterside Inn, now run by Roux senior’s son, Alain, serves a six-course tasting menu for £167.50 without drinks, and has held three Michelin stars since 1985.

Only four other restaurants in the UK currently hold three stars: Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, also in Bray; Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester; Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea; and Araki, a London sushi restaurant.

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