ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Who owns the recipe?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Who owns the recipe?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am a home cook and any recipes that I like are kept on a database / printed for future reference. What I would like to know is that within a top end smaller commercial kitchen do Chef’s have their own private recipe database that they can use and if so who decides the ownership of the recipe once it appears on the menu etc.?

I would also like to know if professional Chefs in general rely on memory or paper for their recipes?.

I await your replies with interest.

maxon8
post #2 of 12
If you create a recipe for a restaurant you work at, the owner of the restaurant owns the recipe under "work for hire". Unless you said otherwise in your work contract. It's very weak protection however. Anyone who knows how to cook the recipe can continue to do so, even teach others.

While you might create a recipe, copyright rarely protects a single recipe. http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html. Nor does copyright protect you from anyone else cooking that recipe for profit.

Copyright protects from the unauthorized reproduction of the recipe itself only. With exceptions for fair use, educational use and so on. It doesn't protect the food itself.

Copyright doesn't protect 'secrets' If you have a secret recipe, never put it in a book or magazine or write it down for anybody. Copyrighted information is avaliable for the public to read and use. So the recipe for Coke, or KFC chicken is not copyrighted, it's protected under lock and key in a corporate safe.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
post #3 of 12
A couple of loaded questions there. You can have all the copyright protection you want, but if I alter the amount of an ingredient, or streamline a process, it becomes a new recipie. I've known some bakers who want to keep their recipies secret, and scale out certain ingredients the night before so staff have no complete recipe, but still can follow it out.

Depending on the professionalism of the place, it can function entirely on recipies--to the extent of programable oven settings (press#5 for cookies), where staff have little or no training and must be told every single step; or no recipies at all, except in the pastry kitchen, where professionals have executed the dish thousands of times and rely on experience and their senses.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #4 of 12
Very seldom is a recipe followed to a tee in a pro kitchen. :) There are standard ways things are done, and they may vary from kitchen to kitchen. I think in restaurants it's more appropriate to call them procedures.
post #5 of 12
Where to begin?!?

I have written down my recipes since leaving school in 1982. For the simple fact that try as I may I can't remember everything and for some sort of consistancey for them to be reproduced. Are they in a computer file? Yes and no. Most are but there are still a few copies of my original stuff that remains on paper. Kinda dangerous if some disaster were to strike but just haven't gotten around to adding them yet.

Ownership of recipes. This is a tough one.
Most of the stuff that's out there is an interpretation of an original or a combination of several. Because of this it's next to impossible to copyright a recipe. Change one ingredient or alter a measurment and it's a new recipe. In my experience the recipes that I have written for restaurants become the property of that restaurant that is unless you own the restaurant. Because of this I keep an orginal copy on my computer and that differs slightly from the paper copy provided to the restaurant. Why the deception you ask.
Even though many of my recipes are of an interpretation of some other recipes or dishes,there are several that are original to me. None the less they are all of my efforts. Since when you leave or are asked to leave there is no guarantee that, the owner or (for the lack of a better description) your two-faced Sous Chef haven't made copies. That is why I usually leave something out that can be added when I final taste or do a line check. (I've only had one Sous Chef that picked up on this and we were replaced simultaneously. Ironic how one of the two that stood by my side had to die with me.) Anyhow there are also those recipes that are more like a generalized outline on a piece of paper and then I am the one to produce them. Makes te owners happy to think they have it over you.
Like I said there's alot of effort in some of these recipes.

Generally the menu at hand can be and is produced from memory. It is nice to have a back up since as you get older or when you get a creative block and need to recycle something from 25 years ago so....I don't know about everyone else out there but alot has happened in the last 25 years.:D
post #6 of 12
Lots of good info there everyone I learned something from this thread and thats why I keep coming back here.

Rgds Rook
post #7 of 12
I thought it was our sparkling personality and boyish good looks!
post #8 of 12
BTW I forgot to mention one last thing. If by chance someone does take an idea from one of my recipes I've learned to approach it from the stand point that "Imitation is the greatest form of compliment":D


Hehehe
post #9 of 12
We've discussed this before but I'm not sure in which thread or forum it was. You can try doing a search with our search button. You could start with the word "copyright" and see what comes up.
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #10 of 12
For recipes I don't want others to steal ('secret' family recipes), I rely on memory, and only I make those items. At the restaurant we only have recipes for pastries and certain cold food items (vinaigrettes for example). Everything else comes out of our heads.
post #11 of 12
Well.... Having the affliction of "foot in mouth disease" from time to time:eek: I believe I will sit this one out to s what others have to say. I have a very defined opinion about this but don't wish to make (as Norm Crosby once said on the Tonight Show) "A huge Astrodome" of myself.:look: I'm old enough to not care what most think about me and my opinions but there are still a few folks out there that I do care what they think.:blush: So.... I sit and wait. Hey bartender!:beer:

Later.:D
post #12 of 12
maxon8: I have moved your post about the learning curve to a new thread on the Professional Chefs discussion board, since you are asking about professional experience as much as about home cooks' experience. I hope everyone -- home cook or professional -- will respond there :)
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Who owns the recipe?