A culinary and technological war has broken out as top chefs try to prevent customers from taking photos of their meals and uploading the images to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

"It's hard to build a memorable evening when flashes are flying every six minutes," Michelin-starred chef David Bouley told the New York Times.

Some food photography fans come equipped with gorillapods - small, flexible tripods to use on their tables.

At the three-starred Chef's Table in New York, pictures are off limits altogether.

Bans in the UK are rare, although photography is frowned upon at the Ivy. But this is mainly to preserve the anonymity of celebrities who frequent the restaurant.

Tom Aikens, who runs Tom Aikens Restaurant in Chelsea, said that if his premises were smaller and more intimate, he would be tempted to impose a ban because it can "disturb the dining experience".

Though generally pleased by the photos of his dishes that appear on social media, he said he'd seen "some pictures that don't do the food justice".

Some food professionals have taken to the new technology like lamb to mint sauce. Angela Hartnett, chief patron of Murano in Mayfair is a foodstagrammer fan.

Other tech-savvy restaurants have welcomed the food porn phenomenon, seeing it as free marketing. Comodo, a Latin American eatery in New York's SoHo neighborhood, created an "Instagram menu," compiled from photos of meals uploaded by customers and tagged with the hashtag #comodomenu.

Instagram, the photo-sharing service now has 90 million monthly active users, and foodstagramming is increasingly popular.

Among Instagram's users, a quick search reveals thousands of them showcasing tempting photos of their meals. As does a search for #foodstagram on Twitter, or even "foodporn" on Google.

There are plenty of food apps on the market, including food-themed photo sharing service Burpple, where the more creative foodies can add photo filters.

While offline, photos and descriptions can be uploaded to Burpple boxes, which are used to categorise different 'food moments'. As and when the phone is connected to the Web, the image will automatically be published to the service.

There's also FoodSpotting, where the user can find and share mouthwatering dishes, along with good restaurants. Food is instantly tagged on Instagram by putting the hashtag #foodspotting on the photo when uploading.