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Dinner is theater as the food paparazzi converge

April 19, 2010 | 10:13 am

Misty Oka
The paparazzi target wasn't hard to find: The star smelled distinctly of fish.

Camera flashes cut across the softly lighted downtown Los Angeles restaurant, as the crowd at Ludo Bites jostles for the coveted photo -- of the Columbia River king salmon confit.

A few minutes later, as a server walked past with a plate of foie gras terrine, 18 food bloggers aimed their cameras and prepared to fire anew."This is the game we all now play," chef and owner Ludo Lefebvre said through gritted teeth. "We cook, we smile -- and the people, they don't eat. They get their cameras."

Not so long ago, diners, hungry for a memento of special meals, would pull out a point-and-shoot at a restaurant for a quick picture of sliced birthday cake.

No more. Taking a cue from Twitter and Facebook cultures, serious foodies and casual consumers alike are using digital technology to document each bite, then sharing or swapping the pictures online.

Chefs call them the food paparazzi, and these days, no morsel is too minor. Read more here about the won't-end-anytime-soon trend that is annoying chefs and diners alike:

Photo: Chef Ludo Lefebvre, left, is captured during plating by food blogger Misty Oka at his restaurant Ludo Bites. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times