The Suburbanite
  • Almost banned in New York City, amateur food pics continue to rule social media. Do chefs mind?

  • The trend of diners taking cellphone pictures of their meals and posting them on social media continues to be all the rage.

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  • When you’re out to eat and your food arrives, which do you grab first — your fork or your phone?
    If you answered the latter, you have plenty of company. The trend of diners taking cellphone pictures of their meals and posting them on social media continues to be all the rage.
    It even has a name: Foodstagramming.  
    Lots of foodies can’t help but be snap happy. Justin Deierling of North Canton has an iPhone full of food and beverage shots, including a recent picture of a Reuben sandwich he took at Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland.
    “I put them on Facebook a lot,” said the 30-year-old firefighter who works at Akron-Canton Airport. As a big fan of craft and international beer, Deierling has another reason to keep his phone tabletop. “I usually take pictures of the different beers I’ve had so I can keep a record.”
    Foodstagramming made national news earlier this year when some New York City restaurants considered banning it because of the distraction to other diners. As in, bright flash photography in dimly lit dining rooms.
    Or patrons standing on a chair for a better angle. No kidding. In fact Kent Welsh, chef at the Canton Club, once saw a diner do just that.
    “They get caught up in the moment,” Welsh said. Other than chair antics, Welsh is all for it.
    “I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “I can’t encourage it enough.”
    After all, it’s not a bad thing to have patron brag about a meal on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
    “The old adage is true,” Welsh said. “Word of mouth carries so much weight.”
     Josh Schory, chef of Lucca in downtown Canton, is very familiar with the trend, which he knows by another name.
    “People call that food porn,” Schory said with a chuckle.
    Food shots are frequent in his dining room, usually with the 25 to 40 crowd, Schory said. Some picture-takers are serious. Most are casual.
    “We’ve had food bloggers come in to write reviews, and they actually have a nice camera and will turn the plate every which way to set up a shot,” Schory said. “But the average consumer just pulls out their iPhone to take a picture of their food.”
    Either way, he doesn’t mind.
    “I think it’s a compliment to be honest with you,” Schory said.
    Jon Jacob of Bender’s Tavern in downtown Canton has a unique perspective on the subject.
    This February, Jacob was in New Orleans for the Super Bowl just as the story broke about New York eateries possibly banning food shots. At the time, he was dining in an upscale eatery with his wife, who is a foodie and photographer, and his chef from Bender’s.
    Page 2 of 2 - “So here’s my wife with her Nikon SLR, and she’s snapping photos of each dish that comes out,” Jacob said. “As in, actually walking up to the open kitchen and taking photos as the food is coming out.”
    No one seemed to care, and Jacob was happy to record their great meals for inspiration.
    “As a restaurant owner and chef, we’re always looking for ideas,” he said.
    Jacob doesn’t mind snapshots taken in his dining room. Frequently, they are not of food.
    “A lot of people take pictures of their wine bottle,” Jacob said. “That’s how they remember what they have for future reference.”
    Not every picture posted online is a winner, Jacob admits. Some people simply aren’t the best photographers. Most eatery owners seem to agree that it goes with the territory. For
    Jacob, foodstagramming is a positive thing.
    “That’s selling us,” he said,