Chefs may privately hate it when customers take photos of their culinary creations. For every mouthwatering photo on social media like Instagram and Twitter there are dozens of bad shots taken with phones which do not do justice to the food being served.
At the same time, they know this is a trend that they cannot really fight against and in general it has enabled a certain food culture to emerge and one which we are likely to look at years from now as the start of a food revival.
Most chefs who speak to Food and Wine Gazette actually don’t mind sharing their work on social media or even having people share photos of their culinary creations.
There is obviously the issue of food becoming cold on the plate or else disturbing other clients in the restaurants and that is really something that should be avoided. We’ve heard stories of people standing on chairs in restaurants to take a photo of their dish to be able to share on social media.
But in Germany, you may think twice before posting a photo of your plate of food on social media. German law prohibits the sharing of culinary creations on social media. People who violate this law can face a penalty that can be as high as thousands of euros.
Le Figaro considers this the end of an époque in Germany. And according to Die Welt, the law is very clear. If someone takes a photo of his plate without the permission of the chef and shares it on social media it violates the chef’s intellectual property.
Dutch chef Sergio Herman had told Food and Wine Gazette earlier this year you cannot really do anything about photos in restaurants. “I used to hate it at Oud Sluis but there is nothing you can do to stop it.” However, he told me about a lady at The Jane the day before I had interviewed him that she was taking photos and texting throughout the meal. “It was unbelievable. To me that was a step to far.”
On the other hand Belgian chef Gert De Mangeleer told Food and Wine Gazette social media is extremely important for the public relations and image of the restaurant. “When we create something, we have a tendency to put it on social media. In a way, once it is on social media, it is like a patent. It is however true that when people come to the restaurant, the element of surprise is gone because they have already seen everything on social media. I see this as both good and bad. What is sure is that we have to live with it.”
Before everyone starts panicking in Germany, however, it is specified that the culinary dish in question needs to be recognised as a work of art.
While the German law allows chefs to decide what constitutes their intellectual property and under which conditions there work could be reproduced, it is difficult to see how the law will be applied in practice. But with the fines running into thousands of euro you might not want to take a risk.