Alinea, Food “documentation” and the DBwRCF

Really? A tripod and a video camera? I guess I was too naive to think that people know when there are lines that they should not cross in a restaurant before becoming a nuisance! I am referring here to the post that Chef Grant Achatz put up on Alinea’s Mosaic forum and that Carol Blymire linked to on her blog. Carol’s very well worded post is a very good read and makes some excellent points. 

I will be the first to admit that I love taking pictures of food (hence the blog) and to see what others have photographed. However, I always assumed that bloggers or food groupies are using small cameras and no flash. I am sure this is mostly the case. Most bloggers and food lovers are courteous to others and to the establishment they are dining at. I think what we have here is a case of “The Douche Bag who Ruins Casual Friday” syndrome. If you work in an office environment you probably know the DBwRCF Syndrome. Or maybe in your case it might be the DBwRFDWW Syndrome (that’s the DB who Ruins Four Day Work Week).

Here’s what happens, you have a company policy or maybe a policy for your team/group/office that says Fridays are casual fridays. This means you can come in to the office wearing casual clothing. For most people this means a pair of jeans (pants not shorts) and a decent T-shirt. On your feet? a pair of tennis shoes or Sketchers. It goes well for a few weeks or maybe months until Mr. DB decides to push the limits of decorum. He comes one week wearing his nice flip-flops. The boss lets it slide. Next week he decides to ear a T-shirt that was probably new when he was in college. More points if the said T-shirt is sporting a beer or bourbon add. Again, the boss lets it slide. Mr. DB, thinking he is a trailblazer starts coming in wearing the flip-flops, the said T-Shirt and some ripped jeans or worse – shorts! Now, the boss has to have a talk with him and Mr. DB complains that it’s “Casual Friday”, so he should be able to wear whatever he wants. After some back and forth, the boss decides to basically cancel Casual Friday for everyone because of Mr. DB. That happens all the time. It’s just much simpler to do that than to deal with the shenanigans of one asshole.

I really hope this does not happen at Alinea, but it seems that that’s where most restaurants are heading. It is clear that Acahtz has no problem with anyone taking pictures, he has a problem when a few start pushing the limits of what is acceptable. It really is a problem when some simply have no common sense. It is simpler to just state “No Cameras” as opposed to dealing with “guests” on a one off basis, even if it is unfair to the non-offending majority. I am looking forward to eating there and would love to take a few pictures. If the “no cameras” rule  does go in effect, then so be it. Achatz has all the right to enforce any reasonable rules in his house. I really do not need to take photos to enjoy or remember great meals. We ate at el Bulli in 2005 and took maybe one photo of the food.The rest were photos with the chef and a few of my wife and I. I saved the menu and I still can remember pretty much every dish from that wonderful meal.

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