Despite their reservations, most high-end chefs have embraced social media wholeheartedly. Vartan Abgaryan, the chef and partner at 71Above in downtown Los Angeles, says that he has yet to see any real downside to Instagram in his kitchen or dining room. At first, he was charmed when he noticed people tagging their friends to make dinner plans in the comments of the pictures of food, before he realized what a powerful marketing tool was at his disposal and hired someone full time to manage and monitor his restaurant’s Instagram presence.
Abgaryan has put a lot of thought into what makes a dish a hit on the internet: “It has to actually get someone to stop for a moment. There are some very beautiful food pictures and they do nothing, then a picture of a single oyster could make you stop and really take a look.” Whatever he does, it works. That lone oyster has become one of the restaurant’s most Instagrammed dishes.