Let’s face it. It’s hard to be a restaurant blogger. First and foremost you need to be up to date on what’s trending, and the restaurants, chefs, signature dishes that are hot and can bring traffic to that little expensive space that you self hosted on the web, after hours of youtube tutorials and phone calls on the other side of the Atlantic with the poor souls of the Godaddy.com technical team. But the real challenge is when you visit a restaurant. So many eateries nowadays are not equipped and have no clue on how to deal with bloggers.
1. Low lights and spot lights: dear restaurateurs, you have no idea how the right lightning can bring that 150 extra likes on Instagram. Here is an advice, you should really keep a table for bloggers with daylong natural light, where, even if we visit at night, we won’t have any light issues and can take amazing still life shots of your food, better with a ‘money shot’ Instragram view. And please, make sure it’s equipped with electric plugs and a couple of USB chargers for our iPhones. It’s a win-win situation. Ideally close enough to the kitchen, so that we can stalk the chefs in action, but far enough so that our clothes don’t get smelly.
2. Long plates: Why do chefs are still serving their food on long plates? Are they not aware of the Instagram square photo rule? No matter how you take the picture, it won’t fit. This should be considered a chef sin.
3. Soups: Oh dear oh dear. Pureed soups don’t look good, no matter how you shoot them, with the exception of broth soups and ramen. Same applies to ‘mousse’ like amuse bouche. Chefs just forget about those, they just don’t look good enough to be featured on any blog with decent pictures. Also, pastel colours are not very appealing you know? It’s either go bold (colour) or go home.
4. Everything Brown: Brown doesn’t look good on camera, it might taste good, but if I post it and I get 3 likes from my 2 best friends and my stalker, it isn’t a great success. So, please refrain from serving any mushroom soups. The only exception is chocolate, as long as there is a tempting gooey middle and a carefully crafted seemingly casual dollop of Haiti vanilla gelato, please note gelato, not ice cream, on top – but please make sure it’s cold enough because when it takes me 10 minutes to nail the right shot, the vanilla gelato is gone.
5. Compositions with height: now I don’t know if you live under a rock, but you surely must have realised that all best shots on Instragram are flat on the table. So if your dish is designed to have some sort of height, nobody will see. In fact, it will look dull. So, please change your plating accordingly, and let’s all be happy, ok?
6. Too big dishes: yes, this is annoying. Why on earth a chef would decide to serve a whole fish to a table? Or anything, on a long plate? Unheard of. Clearly it doesn’t fit in the square shape on an Instagram picture, therefore please rethink your plating.
7. Menus on the website not consistent with the menu served: we, bloggers, are a busy lot. We go out, we need to take decent pictures, we need to have minimal conversation with the people we are having breakfast, lunch, dinner with. We need to live Instagram our meal, vine the sauce dropping on the plate. We need to make sure the light is right, the styling on the plate appealing enough, and yes we do improve your sometimes shabby styling, and yes, we clean plates when you leave annoying and asymmetrical stains. We certainly don’t have time to remember what we are eating. So please, make sure your online menu is up to date. You will otherwise end up with a basic description of the dish such as ‘that amazing scallop’.
8. Non photogenic desserts: Guys this is crucial. If a dessert isn’t photogenic it isn’t worth the calories. Do you have any ideas of how many desserts we need to eat every week? please make the calories count, and serve us some decadent stuff that can increase our Instagram likes, the junkier, the better. Really.
9. Hidden compositions: So, there seems to be this new trend of plating food by hiding things underneath. This doesn’t look good, or better, it doesn’t appeal to our Instagram followers, they want to know, they want to see, so please be more explicit and stop hiding things.
10. Stews, curries etc..: they don’t look good enough, not even if served in a vintage mug or with a cute made in Bali handcrafted box of sticky rice. So, please, think about alternative ways to serve these foods. Molecular lamb curry perhaps could be a solution.
Failing all the above, we have no choice but take pictures from your websites, and Instragram them as our own, obviously with no credits.
Or.. let’s just forget about foodporn, blogging and Instagraming, and let’s all go back to enjoying our food and our company! That is what food should really be about.
Here amongst the best meals I had in the recent months, all against any blogger rules