The Worst Food Photos from the World's Best Restaurants (Slideshow)
July 17, 2014
Decent food photography is apparently harder than it looks
#10 The Ledbury, London
Chef Brett Graham’s Notting Hill gem cracked the top 10 this year, and his tasting menu has won some serious accolades. One of the theatrical highlights of the meal is the presentation of their signature ash-baked celeriac with wood sorrel, which in this blurry photo looks anything but appetizing.
#9 Alinea, Chicago
Grant Achatz is pushing some serious culinary boundaries at Alinea, and one of his signature dishes is the Hot Potato/ Cold Potato, which brilliantly combines hot and cold elements into a perfect mouthful. This dark, blurry photo of it is instead focused on the table in front of the dish, resulting in what looks like a few odd lumps perched over a bowl with something purple in the middle of it.
#8 Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
Multiple generations of the Arzak family helm the kitchen in this showcase for the finest Basque cooking. This is certainly not one of the better photos of this dish, which is supposedly a crisp cone of yucca filled with foie gras mousse.
#7 D.O.M, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Chef Alex Atala has taken fine dining out of the Italian and French domain with this groundbreaking South American restaurant, where each dish required trips deep into the Amazon to source ingredients and conduct research. We’re sure that this dish, brioche-breaded oysters pané topped with tapioca and salmon roe marinated in soy sauce and olive oil, tastes delicious, but this photo of it is too dark, too close, and poorly-framed.
#6 Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
At this restaurant, there’s no menu and each diner gets about 20 personalized dishes intended to shock, surprise, and change your concept of what restaurants can do. We’re not sure if this unidentified dish achieved any of the above, but the diner was apparently so entranced that he had no idea he was taking a terrible photo of it.
#5 Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London
Big, bold dishes inspired by British culinary history are the name of the game at this London spot, and this pork chop appears to be nicely-cooked. The spelt and something called “Robert sauce” on the side, however, is nothing short of frightening-looking slop. If ever there was a reason why flash photography doesn’t belong in restaurants, this is it.
#4 Eleven Madison Park, New York
The caption corresponding with this photo only said “There’s truffle in there.” How do you even eat this?
#3 Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
Massimo Bottura is one of the world’s great culinary visionaries, and at his restaurant he’s fusing classic Italian fare with avant-garde, modern sensibilities, with a dash of fun on the side. This dish, however, looks like a dark blob with moss growing on it.
#2 El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
This family-owned restaurant gives diners one of the finest hospitality experiences anywhere, while also stimulating their senses, emotions, and memories via a 14-course Catalonian feast. The blurry blob on this plate is actually dulce de leche with sheep’s milk ice cream, sheep cottage cheese foam, sheep yogurt, and a “lactic cloud.”
El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
This same photographer also decided to take a photo of the “tapas” course: fennel velouté with sea water; pigeon parfait with Bristol Cream, orange, and spices; and fig terrine with bitter tender almonds and foie gras. He somehow managed to make sure that not only was every component out of focus, but the blaring flash also makes it all look really unappetizing.
#1 Noma, Copenhagen
René Redzepi elevates Nordic food to new heights at his 10-year-old Copenhagen restaurant, which few would argue is anything but the world’s best. Here we see his dehydrated celeriac with truffle sauce and sorrel stalks and leaves, but apparently the photographer took this photo while in the process of falling out of his chair.
Arguably the most definitive dish at Noma, the donut with preserved fish and cucumber is a study in flavors, textures, and whimsy. It’s a gorgeous and intriguing dish, but here it looks like a mummified lizard got trapped in some sort of orb.