Confessions of a Wise Old Daycare Veteran, Who Has Been Using Daycare for Three Whole Half Days Now
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Christ on a $9 Cracker

The Amalafoodie household received its first Cease & Desist letter this weekend.


Blah blah intellectual-property cakes, here's my take on the whole mess, because it's apparently ignited the INDIGNANT FURY OF THE INTERNETS and every damn DC metro, dining and/or legal blog out there seems to be talking about it today and y'all, I WAS THERE. I GOT ME A T-SHIRT.

The long-drawn-out-and-self-aggrandizing version: Jason and I went out for dinner at a well-regarded little neighborhood place called Buck's Fishing & Camping. The chef has a reputation for both brilliance and...well, let's just say she can be a little prickly.

But hi, Jason and I are restaurant groupies. We love eating out. We love adventurous cooking and I would personally detail the cars and fetch the dry-cleaning of several DC-area chefs whom I absolutely idolize. Jason generally only writes about restaurants he really likes (because he won't write a bad review based on one visit, and we just don't have the time or money to make repeated trips to a place that sucked the first time), and he always credits the food photos and usually leaves a card behind to let the restaurant know that a write-up is forthcoming so they can contact him with any concerns.

I call Jason an Insufferable Food Snob all the time, and I mean it in the nicest way possible.

Basically: if there are two people who get what chefs are trying to do and would put up with all kinds of egotistical bullshit, it's us.

But if you harass us over dessert because you heard we snapped pictures with a fucking CAMERA PHONE, and then follow that up with a letter threatening to sue us for damages and whatever the fuck else?

No. We will not put up with that kind of egotistical bullshit, no matter how awesome my fish was.

And sadly, it was incredibly awesome. And pretty!

(Well, pretty for something that still had its dead fish head and dead fish eyes still attached.)

Before this entry turns into a full-on Crazy Person Rant, let me start at the beginning.

Friday night, we go to the restaurant. We take the baby. We drive around the block 200 sizillion frillion times to make sure the baby is asleep and will not disturb anyone. We order wine, appetizers, entrees and desserts. We rack up a decent-sized check because hell, we don't have to pay a babysitter and I enjoy giving the Internet evidence that no, I DON'T love my baby very much and put him in daycare just so I can spend $8 on a fucking wedge of iceberg lettuce.

We take four measly pictures of our plates with Jason's camera phone.

Halfway through dessert, the chef comes over and says that she heard we've been taking pictures of "her food."

We smile, a little worried that Jason's been recognized, but play dumb anyway. (NOT because we were trying to hide anything, but because sometimes when Jason gets recognized at a restaurant, the chef or host or waiter tries to comp something, which we don't want and it's awkward and blah blah integrity-cakes.)

And then it just got strange. She asked us why we were taking pictures, did we ask if we could take pictures, and did we know that we couldn't use the pictures without her permission, because she didn't want them ending up on (eyeroll) the Internet. We thought she was kidding around, even though her tone was kind of...well, prickly.

Now here's the sticking point: Legally speaking (and OH, how much I know now about laws governing photography in public and private areas), Buck's has every right to prohibit photos of the food and interior of the restaurant. Of course they do! It's their place! Their rules!

BUT! They kind of have to TELL PEOPLE about their policy. A sign in a prominent location. A footnote on the menu. Because most reasonable people assume that photography (for whatever purpose, be it a group photo of a birthday celebration or a photo for a personal website) inside a restaurant is okay.

Buck's did not do or have any of these things, despite what the C&D letter says. We were never told that we couldn't take pictures, just that we needed the chef's permission before we could use them.

Which, nope. Sorry. Photos that have already been taken are the sole property of the photographer. You do not have the right to dictate their use or confiscate our film or demand that we erase photos. (Note: She did not go that far. She simply asserted that we were not allowed to use the pictures without her permission, and she wasn't giving it to us, but gee, she hoped we enjoyed our meal.)

The co-owner of Buck's spoke with us afterwards, free dessert wine in hand, and tried to smooth things over. (To say that we [mostly I] looked VISIBLY ANNOYED AND PISSED OFF would be an understatment. Who likes to be scolded like a kid passing notes in homeroom over your $9 piece of cake?)

Once my red-hot embarrassment kind of simmered down and my hearing returned, I realized he was talking about the online DC food scene, the message boards and the blogs and what-have-you. I think he mentioned DCFoodies or some other blog and before I could stop myself I blurted out that yeah, his chef just bitched out DCFoodies, how you like THEM heirloom tomatoes with fresh buffalo mozzarella drizzled in basil oil?

He told us we didn't have to pay attention to the chef because he owned the place too, implying that it was totally okay to post the stupid photos if we wanted. We felt better. We paid our hefty bill, left a generous tip and went home. Noah never opened an eyeball.

Saturday morning, Jason wrote a very nice and balanced review of our meal (his entree DID suck, sorry) with just a casual mention of the weird encounter with the chef at the end. By the time he was done, the Cease & Desist was in his email inbox, rife with spelling and grammatical errors, and accusing us of disregarding a stated no-photography policy and insinuating that the restaurant would take us to court if any of the "improper photographs" appeared online.

Well! That's nice.

Anyway, the whole thing? So stupid. And avoidable. If the chef had nicely expressed her concerns (like say, she just doesn't like amateur photos being published) at the restaurant instead of trying to bully us with sweeping declarations of what we were "allowed" to do with our own photos, Jason gladly would have obliged. Like I said, he doesn't want to bash restaurants or create ill-will with local chefs. The fact that we were told something different by Buck's co-owner created some confusion, and the Cease & Desist letter was just a fucking slap in the face, and should insult any restaurant patron who naively thinks that the food they order and pay for is theirs to do whatever they fucking please with instead of "propriatary [sic] and confidential."

Look. I get it. The food is her art. She's protective of it. And while I personally didn't see anything super artistic about a piece of chocolate cake with a scoop of whipped cream on top, art IS subjective in all its forms.

Threatening your customers (bloggers or not) with legal action, is complete and utter bullshit. The end.

I'm telling the audience all this because 1) I like to think you care about the minutae of my fabulous, below-the-law life, 2) all the other cool blogs are talking about it, and 3) there are a hell of a lot of you, and I like seeing you riled up, because you're so PRETTY when you're all riled up.

Plus, if we get sued, I won't be able to afford daycare or quit my job ever and Noah will have to live in a cool wet sack under a highway overpass.


Y'all, my mom did NOT get my permission before taking this photo with her camera phone. I'm totally going to sue her uppity ass.



Am I first?
Cutest baby ever!


And I was so wanting to try that place! Oh well - you can take satisfaction in knowing that they will have one less customer.


Delurking to say that I too looked forward to trying Buck's--but plan not to now! Love your site!


That has got to be one of the craziest things I've ever heard! As far as I'm concerned, you paid for the food, therefore,it belongs to YOU!!!


If I lived in DC, I'd totally boycott this place. As it is, I'm in Chicago, so please consider me a boycotter of this restaurant in spirit.


One more thing - I read this part:

"If there are any questions in this regard. please call me at any time."

and it was just too funny, on top of the other numerous errors. So sorry you and Jason have to deal with idiots on your seldom night out - you seem like nice enough folks.


Right after she got all prickly on your ass, you should have stuck your fingers down your throat and given her back "her food."

That's so goddamn ridiculous I can't even process it. Kitchen Confidential, indeed.


On the bright side, Noah will still look adorable
under the overpass.


I won't eat there either even though I don't live in DC! I can certainly tell all of my DC friends to leave it off their "Must Try" list!


I shall tell everyone I knw in D.C. to avoid this restaurant.

I know two people in D.C.

One of them is you.

Oh wait, that's right, I don't actually know you.

Well I guess i am not much use...sorry.

But that still sucks.


I'm still MAD!


That's so incredibly ridiculous. I hope word gets back to her about how many people are disgusted so she can decide whether she'd like her "art" posted in a food review or whether she'd rather lose potential clients.


They won't let you publish the before-eaten photos, but they don't say anything about after-eaten photos. You should publish those, if it's not too late.


That's just INSANE. That bitch needs a hobby.

Real Girl

I know a 3-star NYC chef who was such a doll before he became uber-successful, but now his head doesn't fit in the door, and not only because it's permanently attached to his cell phone. Chefs are a rare breed.

Real Mom was in DC recently and had a n AMAZING meal at a place called (I think) Cityzen (Citizen?) in some posh hotel (business paid the hefty bill). I'm sure you foodies are either already aware of it or beloved regulars, but just in case you haven't dined there yet, I'll pass along the absolute rave.




spell check anyone?

I just tried to call the law office, they ceased and desisted answering their phone.


if there is one thing that EVERYONE who deals with the public should remember it is that bad experiences are repeated 100 fold over good.

the chef gets her way. photos of her food aren't published. but now you have a story that will turn people (quite a number of them, if i'm correct in understanding the popularity of jason's site) away from eating in her restaurant. and i'm betting that she's wishing she hadn't made such an ass of herself over such a small thing. a very small thing, considering anyone could walk in off the street and see the very "art" she was trying to protect.


I can't believe it! Since they sent the letter to Jason, would you be able to post the pictures on your blog and not be bound by the cease and desist legalities? Or you could send them to me and i could post them on my blog! Ha! So there, Prickly Chef! That's what you get when you SELL your art! The buyer can do whatever they want with it. Next time? I would throw it on the floor and do an amazing stomp-dance all over it. Sweet justice. Immature. But still sweet.

I don't like bullies.

But I like Noah! You are such a handsome boy, Noah! Yes you are!

Lisa V

I think the chef needs to get a life. And if Noah sues and wins let me know. My damn kid is threatening to sue me all the time.


I can't imagine a visual artist not allowing reviews (good or bad) or images of their art from appearing on blogs. It makes but nooooo sense. And it would put me out of a ... blog. Hmf!



How's that for riled up? Was that pretty enough?


I feel pritttty, oooh so pritttyyyy...

Man. Hope she likes her new job as sous-chef de frites at the Burger King on 124th and Q.


Awesome rant. I am in Texas, but I will boycott them anyway! Power to the people! Or something.


Okay, I'm not so riled that I think you should take an 'after' shot of the food and post a picture of your poo -- BUT I am riled enough to sincerely hope that the uppity chef lady is in serious poo herself today for all the internet ire she has caused. Deservedly, totally brought upon herself. And what's with management telling you one thing, then siccing the dumbest attorney ever on you?! Wish I lived nearer so I could walk by Buck's slowly and give them dirty looks.


I'm going to stop lurking just to say WTF? And did you do a google search (which I'm sure the all powerful and lovely Amalah did) What kind of attorney IS HE? All I found was youth bs. Stupid lady ticking off wonderful people. I'm in North Carolina, BUT, I won't eat on visit trips either. They have no knowledge. Heck hath no fury like an internet groupie scorned!


OK, let me ask... if you had CHEWED UP the chocolate cake and then did a SEE-FOOD maneuver to your husband and he took the picture, would THAT have been offensive to the "chef"???

That's ridiculous. I hope their business suffers over such a stupid thing.


ok so grossness aside, you should have taken a picture of the food once it exited your bodies and emailed it to her and asked... are we allowed to take pics of your food on the way out? will you sue us for that you stupid cow? that would have been way funny.


ohhhh, you got served.

"and blahblah integrity cakes" is haha hilarious cakes.


which other blogs were talking about it? heehee WTG Storch fam!


What is this chef stupid? Does she not know that this will hurt her art selling business? The owner totally needs to get a hold of this lady or his restaurant will suffer! Evil lady, evil, evil...

Noah looks so cute in his little cap. :)


That's just so weird.

What if you had ordered the food to-go and then took a picture at your house? Is that illegal too?

I think it's hilarious that you and Jason will probably singlehandedly either a) get that chef's ass fired, or b) put the restaurant out of business. Crazy biatch.

Anne Glamore

I love this story. This is just the kind of thing that would drive me NUTS!!

Not only did the chef kick herself in the ass, I don't see the lawyer getting a lot of new business based on his ability to write grammatically.

I'm glad your meal was good at least, and now you have a fun story.

I think you two should dress up in disguise and go back and try the whole thing again. Only for blog fodder, of course!


You should totally submit this to Tom Sietsma's online chat on wed-he'd love this info.


good GOD, the utter ridiculousness and hello?!? bitchiness of it all.

sorry people suck so much for the most ASSHAT reasons.


Dude that sucks. I hate it when people (who are not the boss of me, like my boss is) tell me what I can or cannot do. Probably why I almost got kicked out of my sorority house once. If I'm an adult, and I'm paying good money for something, then I should be able to do whatever the heck I want. Plus, Jason always takes good pictures of the food (at least the pictures I see on his site are good) and I've never read anything that would absolutely keep me from going to whatever restaurant he reviews. Some people are just WAY too uptight!


That is the most WTF?! thing I've heard all year.


Will definitely be passing this along to my own foodie husband so that he doesn't frequent the place either. What bull$hit!


I'm back again.

I read this blog post to my husband and he said that Jason should take a picture of his shit in the toilet, and post that in place of the in-restaurant photo. Or would they claim that as their property too? When exactly does the food become yours?


I've heard lots of stories about Greenwood, but that takes the cake. Imagine how great it would be if people could rave about both her cooking and her personality...


Nope! Nope! Nope!! Certainly not eating THERE now.
Is this lawyer for real?? Let's look him up! And share why we won't EVER use him or visit Buck's whatever again.


Maybe she was afraid her 'art' would become the victim of a molester! How dare you put her 'art' in danger like that!!!!!

What is with people and pictures on the stupid internet?

Bozoette Mary

Damn. We'd enjoyed Buck's a few times, but never again. And I agree with Jodi -- this is definitely Tom Seitsma fodder!


Y'all, I spent all weekend trying to convince Jason to:

1) Post a picture of various bodily waste products in the toilet.

2) Photoshop people having sex with the chocolate cake.

He did not go for either option.

I'm thinking he is smart, and actually doesn't want to create more controversy (he got called "a whiner" on some food site just for posting the damn C&D letter, which, shut up, Internet), and actually doesn't want us all saying mean things or jeopardizing people's jobs because their chef has some people-skill-problems.

We're doing just fine and while the whole thing was stupid and insulting and kind of scary for like, five minutes before we realized how out of line they were, we're totally over it.

So I guess this is my roundabout way of saying that maybe we should all not get riled up after all, because I'm thinking the Do Not Anger Internet People lesson has been learned.

Silly Hily

I seriously hope this Carole chick's business suffers from her acting so stupid! If I lived in DC I would NEVER go there! I would NEVER give her MY hard earned money so she could be an ass with it.
"so pretty when you're all riled up"
You crack me up!
Getting that letter would have riled me up just like it did you. Esp. knowing that Jason would have STILL given them a positive review! He was still going to be nice and she......well


Well, FWIW this DCer had Buck's on her list of "places I must eat at before moving to another part of the country this spring" and it's now been officially booted from the list.

Glad that you and Jason have been able to see the humor of the situation.


I'd have opted for poop too, but I'm seven like that.


Oh for the love of PETE!

That gal has some serious delusions. If I lived in the DC area, I'd probably avoid that restaurant like the bubonic plague now. Way to schmooze the public there, lady.

Sorry you had to deal with that. I'd have been mighty po'd too.


OMG! I AM all riled up now! Thats craziness! How awkward that must have been and I can only imagine how mad you must have been having just spent a good amount of money on dinner. Wow. The inhumanity.


Wow.. just wow.

I wouldn't sue your Mom, either. Cuteness like that MUST be captured. It's part of the grandmother code. My mother has a gazillion kidlet photos.


Kafaleni: It's actually Noah that's going to sue ME, because I took that picture without HIS permission...because... I think it's funny to write captions as him? Ha?

Yeah, I'm dumb.


Snob fight! Snob fight! ;) Artistic people are a rare breed; so are foodies, apparently. In my opinion, BOTH parties were in the wrong and you should make an extra effort to mend fences NOW before this gets any goofier than it already is. If you don't make the effort, you're the ones who will continue to look silly... and it may even hurt your reputations. (I don't think it's worth that, do you?)


I had been wanting to try that place but not anymore! The chef sounds like she takes herself a little too seriously. I imagine she wasn't nearly as pretty as the rest of us during her riled-upness!


The other day, I mentioned to my boyfriend that of all bloggers, you've got the most grace in handling all sorts of internet drama, trolls, etc. Thsi is no exception--You're fair, you've got your facts right, and you're objective. Hooray, Amalah!


Project Babalah -- I know, I does suck. It seems that as soon as you have named your baby your find 32 other babies with the same name. I looked over the list and my sons' name was #21 (not bad) and my 2 girls names weren't even listed. YAY for me and originality!! (Since I can tell you are desperate to know their names, I will tell you -- one is Carley and the other is Gracia. These are my own artistic creation and completely proprietary. Please seek permission before using or I will send an illiterate C&D to add to your new collection.) :-)


You know what really makes me steaming mad about the whole thing? That YOUR baby will sleep through a restaurant meal (as opposed to MY baby.)


Sorry for the stress, but glad you had the chance to get out and have a semi-enjoyable meal that included an un-beheaded fish.

One of my favorite parts of this? Is that if you google "marvin wagner fredericksburg, virginia," Jason's blog entry is the third listing. So this guy's going to be followed by this letter for a while. BWAH!


My favorite part? The impression that posting pictures of her food will cause the restaurant actual damages--which would only be true if the food looked godawful-he he he!

(and yep I'm a lawyer and nope I wouldn't have written such a dumb letter)


My guess? The chef had just come from a rather terse meeting with LC #1 and was suffering from red bleeding crusty nipples and feeling a wee mite sensitive. She's pumping for all it's worth, she's sucking down Colace like Tequila and dayum! that is one ugly baby she's got there.

Oops. Sorry.

Hell hath no fury like the internet scorned.

I work in professional food service. That is NOT how you treat a customer, even those breaking the rules. I would bet by the end of this week? They are going to be feeling the pinch. are so cute!!!! And don't sue your Mommy.


Oh? And my cousin just had a baby boy on Christmas Day. Noah Robert.

Big Gay Sam

Reminds me of Kathleen Battle. She also felt her talent excused bad behavior. She was fired from the Met and had to take her talent to Europe. Conductor James Levine refused to work with her ever again. Yeah, she was that bad.

Which is sad considering Kathleen's extraordinary talent. She has the voice of an angel and the soul of a fishwife. :P


Did you see that there was a little blurb about it in the Express?? I had a good laugh. They even mentioned the restaurant BY NAME. Take that!


I think Jason wrote a very classy entry about this on his site. Way way nicer than I ever would have been about the situation.

Once, we were followed outside to our car by a waitress who thought we didn't leave enough of a tip. And we were standing there talking to? A missionary friend. Yeah. Please embarrass us in front of Mother Teresa. That will get you a bigger tip, stupid. Actually, she was smart because she went straight to my husband (who is MrNonConfrontational) and demanded more money, and not me, who would have told her to go take a flying leap. I did call the assistant mgr later, who blew me off, then I called the mgr and the coroporate office. Got 2 free meals out of the whole thing, but I was peeeeeee-ohhhhhhhd.


Okay, I have lost all concept of this thing you call "going out to eat" so no comment there, but dude, the top baby name thing? Nobody told ME that "Riley" is a top name - for a GIRL.

Lisa B

That is so crazy and stupid and makes me pissed at the restaurant. And recently I started a blog about restaurants and places to go in St. Louis. (Basically from a mom's perspective not from a "foodies" perspective.)I would have never thought you couldn't take photos of your food. Good thing I haven't yet but I guess I should be prepared for this bullshit if I ever do!


I was going to treat 25 guests to a Monday night feast at Buck's with a full running bar tab from 5pm to closing BUT NOT NOW. Who wants food made by an arsehole?

Seriously, that chef is not made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Stop being so freakishly defensive. Someone has issues. Let the food speak for itself. It makes you look like you think that not ALL of your entrees are up to par.

And Amalah? "Christ on a $9 Cracker"? PRICELESS!!!!!!!!


What other sites are posting about this?

S. Faolan Wolf

Man, my life is boring. No one has ever wanted to sue me.

I do have to ask, though, when does food become the customer's and no longer the chef's "art"?

I could understand if you had taken a photo of the restaurant or the plates or something that they own but you bought the's yours. As you well know. I'm just rambling because, sigh, again, no one ever tried to sue me and I'm feeling inadequate.


DCist wrote about it here, and i heard egullet was talking about it too. i am totally sure it'll show up in sietsema's chat on tomorrow.


Fuck 'em. Never been there. Now never will.


Wow, we were asked to stop taking pictures of the sushi conveyor belt at Blue C Sushi in Seattle this weekend. I was completely miffed, embarassed, hot-in-the-face and annoyed. The manager was nice, but I still don't see what the problem was, b/c what they have there is quite kitschy and rather novel, that conveyor belt. What are they afraid of? The health department coming in?

Little did they know that a.)I managed to snap nearly 30 photos before getting caught, b.)I was still going to post a review on my food blog Emerald City Eats and c.)they were in the presence of a food scientist/master chef aka my husband who could write a letter to the health department in five seconds (with my help, of course) and report all of their blaring violations (like raw fish circulating around a dining room for hours at a time). We didn't go as far as completing option c.), but still.

Pfft. I'm still reeling days later. I think it's absolute bullshit. And I stand behind you and Jason.


Absurd! Utterly absurd. Noah should have had an extravegant poo to finish up the night. None of my friends in the restaurant biz would EVER pull that crap. EVER. She'll pay the price, no doubt. What a loser. Ugh.

I want to eat that babe of yours. Seriously. So freaking cute.


What biznitch.

Her, not you.


I'm sure you know this by now, but they (senders of the C&D) are on very shaky legal ground. If you want any further information, please contact me directly. This is sort of my area (intellectual property rights) and, quite frankly, pretty entertaining from a professional point of view. The very notion of copyrights and intellectual property in the appearance of food is postively hysterical.

I'm sorry you were treated badly by the chef. What an odd and obviously misguided tactic -- truuly and undeniably stupid. You have to wonder about a chef with such poor social and business skills -- I get the strong sense she won't be opening her own place anytime soon.


Sounds like Chef Carol enjoys the reputation she's earned (or given herself). Geesh, she makes the Soup Nazi look like a pussycat. What the heck is she afraid of? Ridiculous!


My boyfriend is a chef and I think this chef has every right to tell you not to take pictures. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking Jason is not a chef himself and therefore in the chefs' opinion - and many others perhaps, an amatuer food blogger.
Unfortunately, too many people are quick to jump on the "boycott" bandwagon from one persons comment and opinions, and while the restaurant is not going to go under from the comments on this site alone - people in the area who once considered this place may think twice because of this.
This is just a pet peeve of mine - as I said my boyfriend is a chef and now runs a restaurant and I myself have been a server for years. This type of business is our livelihood and unfortunately too many people don't think twice before either commenting on one little issue, or deciding not to eat somewhere because of one thing they've heard.
Just think about where you or your spouse work and consider what it would be like to hear someone "boycott" or spread negative comments about what it is you sell/offer in your company from someone else's bad experience.


Consider me a spirit boycotter as well. From Naples, Florida. Which is lame. But if I'm ever in DC, they can suck it.


Are you joking, Terri? My husband owns an large financial consulting business. If he treats a client poorly and word gets out, OF COURSE people won't come to him. He deals with their life savings, and has an obligation to treat everyone (and their money) with great respect. And of course - he DOES! And what does he get in return? A great professional reputation. Earned.

If I hear that the grocery store on the corner has bugs, or the restaurant down the street is nasty to their customers, of course I'm not going back. Call it a boycott if you want, but to me it's just common sense to take your business to places with (well earned) positive, professional reputations!

We have a choice where we spend money, and whose businesses are awarded our patronage. Of course word of mouth plays into those choices. Just as there isn't anything wrong with taking up a friend's tip to go to a great new bistro, there's nothing wrong with staying away from one you hear is less than polite to its customers.


Ugh, this kind of thing is so disgusting. I had a similar incident with a business owner a couple years ago, but that's all I can say cause heaven forbid that crazy bitch finds this comment. Oh Lordy! Good luck with sorting things out. I really don't see what she can do since SHE is the one the started the problem. If she hadnt blown up for no reason you probably wouldnt have even blogged about her.


Noah, tell everyone how your dad made it into The Washington Post's daily free newspaper Tuesday just because he took a picture of something else besides you.

If nothing else Greenwood has given your daddy a ton of free, great publicity and he didn't have to pay a lawyer!


Terri, are you complaining about free speech? The right to voice an opinion? I'll grant you that the media (including bloggers) can be reactionary and sensationalistic, and this can have a negative effect on a business' word of mouth, but people are entitled to have and share opinions. The best weapon against negative speech is positive speech and, at least in theory, if a restaurant is unfairly slammed by one critic, supporters will come out in droves. I've read Jason's reviews - he's hardly a drive by sharp shooter.

I can't imagine a scenario (under the copyright laws) that prevent someone from taking a photograph of a meal and commenting on it. People can and do take photographs of a great many things and offer opinions on the subject of the photograph.

What Amy described was an unreasonable attempt to prevent comment on the restaurant. Unless that chef is registering a copyright on her food (which is the very essence of a "useful article" within the meaning of the copyright laws and thus not subject to copyright protection), all the chef was doing was trying to prevent a possible negative commentary on her food.

Kind of ironic, given the outcome.


That is so ridiculous - which is why I a) totally had to blog/link the article under "Why I will not be in DC anytime soon" and tell my husband all about it. His repsonse: 'I've met a ton of actors and famous people, and the ones with the BIGGEST EGOS were chefs. That's a crock!"


A comment on your sidebar...yeah, what about the now-getting-common Noah name! I had my Noah almost 6 years ago, and that name wasn't even close to the top of the list. People asked then if I "named him after Noah on ER." Um, no?

Pomme Granite

Somewhat of a similar brush with the IP police: My sister was trying on wedding gowns (for the very first time) in an uppity store. She looked so pretty and my mom and I were so giddy and I wanted to take snapshots of her. Dorky I know, but come on, such a classic Kodak moment. But the equally prickly bridal consultant said photography was not allowed. The hell?

I sneak-snapped one pic anyway when the prickle stepped outside - and in the process my mom and sister and I freaked out as if we robbing a bank. Dorks, I tell you.

Anyway, Amalah, I'd been waiting for your post the whole weekend (you may as well know that your site is my crack and I get withdrawal symptoms) and boy was I shocked by the topic. Totally unpredictable. Typically awesome.

Now don't kill me Amalah fans (for I am one of you after all and for I am thin of skin) but IMHO I think that since the chef specifically stated that she didn't want the pictures on the Internet, then maybe the pictures should not have been posted. Out of respect.


After reading the baby name comments, I had to go check the list. Fortunately, neither of my kids names (Lori and Steven) are on the lists. My brother, on the other hand, got pick 4 out of 4 of the most popular names for his kids: Chloe #24, Jacob #2, William #23, and Benjamin #26. Hrmmmm...

I still think Noah is the perfect name for your little guy! Oh, and make sure you check out Miss Doxie's comments! Noah is mentioned by name! LOL

Sorry about the prickly chef!


Good Lord. I just re-read my post. Bad grammar must be contagious! My brother PICKED not got pick. LOL

Erin O'Brien

I hate to be a party pooper, but the whole photography rights thing is a prickly wicket. I went ahead and printed out model releases for photos I might want to use that include people. I have them sign them, then give them $1 for "compensation."

Then I heard it's not just people for which you have to get a release, but their property too.

Seems kind of silly in Amalah's case, but them's the laws.


Photos of food will get you sued!

That's their new logo now.
How stupid. If they don't allow it, post a friggin sign somewhere. Don't just assume. With all the new gadgets out now, you know people take photos all of the time.

The chef should've been nicer. After all, the internet is great advertising, be it good or bad. I'm glad people are boycotting it, and if I were closer, I would too.


Hmm, I walk by this place everyday. Thanks for your report because i will definitely stay clear now.


I think this could best be settled with a dance-off. All of us, against them.


I'm a chef as well and I was surprised at the comment saying you don't understand that word of mouth can hurt their livelihood. That is the essence of the foodservice industry. It's one of the first things they teach you in culinary school. Make every customer happy because one bad comment can hurt you, you never know who that person is or who they know. Which is why you are nice to everyone, even if they are rude to you. I personally became a chef to make people happy, not piss them off. I'm a pastry chef and if someone thinks what I've done is beautiful and wants to take a picture, I'm incredibly flattered. This is just a case of ego run amok. I hope you all don't think all chefs are like this. I'll be interested to see what comes out of all of this.


Wow - I don't know which I enjoyed more - your post or the comments. I've been shaking my head so hard I look like one of those stupid toys you see on dashboards of cars!!!

I just went to Jason's site (great by the way) and kudos on being such a gentleman about the whole thing.

I live in Toronto, Ontario, but if I'm ever in Washington I know where I won't be eating.

Thanks for sharing your ordeal (you were hysterical in your ranting) and your photo of Noah (who is just the cutest).


One thing I forgot to point out?

Jason did not post the photos. And he won't, despite half the internet egging him on to do so. WHATEVER. Honestly, the damn photos are besides the point here. We respect what chefs do, and if she had treated US with a modicum of respect we would have deleted the photos right then and there and apologized for assuming it was okay.

And remember, we WERE given permission to use the photos from Buck's co-owner. It's the whole "do as I say or I will sue you" strongarm tactics here that really get me.

And Jason is NOT (as you can see from his updated post) calling for any kind of boycott of Buck's. That's totally overreacting, although honestly, most DC diners have loooong been aware of this chef's reputation for rudeness and inflexibility. It's what kept us away from Buck's for a long time (check out the user reviews at the Post's site), and it sucked that everything we'd heard was super-extra-crazy confirmed on our first and only visit.

Everybody has the right to make up their own mind about who is right and wrong here -- and we have the right to tell anyone we want to about the cease & desist and how we were treated. Yeah, it's a shame for the restaurant that we're people with quite a platform to tell our story on, but hey, that's why restaurants are supposed to treat ALL patrons with respect, right?

Anyway. We're so over it. The C&D letter is no longer posted and Jason seriously just wants to not talk about it anymore, because things are getting nasty and mean and that's just not why he does DCFoodies.

It's about the food! And the deliciousness! And the glorious, glorious gluttony.

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