Dining in, away from irksome social media influencers, has never been more appealing.
It's true that nothing can quite beat the sublime experience of dining in one of the world’s top restaurants. For many of us though, nothing can also quite beat the vexation of sharing that experience with snap-happy social media ‘influencers’ who are more interested in posting about the experience rather than enjoying the actual food. Afterall, a meal isn’t really a meal unless it’s been posted on Instagram, right? In fact, with many restaurants opting for brand recognition over brand loyalty, it’s been said that some chefs have gone as far as to adjust the aesthetics of their dishes in order to make them more Instagram-friendly. But while, social media might have its pros, preserving privacy and true exclusivity is not one of them. For high-end restaurants like Gucci Osteria in Beverly Hills or The French Laundry, the Chicago-based culinary reservation service, Tock, has been a quiet support - essentially rethinking the reservations process – by encouraging them to sell pre-paid ‘tickets’ for meals and therefore drastically reducing, not only waste, but also no-shows and social media influencers only looking to snap a single course. Elsewhere, this need for exclusivity has given rise to a host of private and semi-private establishments. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, for instance, is eyeing a members-only restaurant inside Manhattan’s 220 Central Park South – the same building where hedge funder Ken Griffin spent $238 million for the most expensive apartment ever sold in the US – while WS New York and Mason, a cloistered enclave for the well-heeled in Los Angeles are havens setting the bar by creating personal, customised and exclusive dining experiences: you don’t have to wait to be seated, staff know your personal preferences, you can order off menu and, most importantly, it satisfies the demands for privacy and peace and quiet, sans irksome snap-happy Instagrammer.