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Appetite grows for our food selfies

Much as I love the talented Renfrew-born, Edinburgh-based chef Mark Greenaway's food, I can't help a sense of foreboding at his proposal to run workshops for diners on how best to photograph it during service for uploading onto social media.

There's undoubtedly a growing appetite for so-called "food selfies" out there, but the burning question for me is whether hoi-polloi should be encourged in this anti-social practice.

Mr Greenaway rightly points out that amateur flash photography can make food lose all its character, while without a flash it can turn into a dark mush. Tutoring people in how to do it better is merely a signal of his acceptance that this feature of 21st-century restaurant culture is here to stay.

When the chef Claude Bosi started a Twitter campaign to ban photography some years ago, he ended up with egg on his face.

Even so, I'm with the group of French chefs who have their Sabatiers wedged firmly in the "non" camp when it comes to allowing any old Tomas, Richard ou Harold to barge in to their restaurant in the belief they can represent chef's painstakingly created dishes.

Alexandre Gauthier of the Grenouillere in Montreuil is the latest to pronounce on this, and his menus even have a pictogram of a camera with a line through it.

He's got a point: please enjoy my food while it's hot, and Tweet about it afterwards if you want.

"Sitting down for a meal should be an enjoyable moment shared with us, not with the social network," he says.

I must fess up. I have been guilty of hauling out my iPad to snap some of the fabulous dishes I've been privileged to taste - though purely for my own use as aide memoires when reviewing.

I'm cringingly aware of the disturbance I'm causing to other diners, especially as I noisily scrape back my chair to stand up for a better angle. I hesitate to post photographs onto social media because there's nothing more boring than looking at someone else's dinner; and anyway, it's already bloated with them.

I know a blogger who takes two smartphones to a meal: one for its spotlight. Others insist on having their table moved to a brighter spot, or to be given more space, to facilitate photography. Some stand on chairs to get an aerial view of their plates, and even record the waiter's description of the dish.

Time, surely, to put down our phones, pick up our knives and forks, and just enjoy the carpe diem.

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