Couldn't agree more. Consistency is of paramount importance to the success of a restaurant. As my role in restaurants began to morph more into that of chef, I began to write things down, not so much because I needed recipes; but instead because what I needed was for people to be able to replicate what I was producing.
To me this discussion has broken into two separate, and completely valid points.
1. recipes don't define a good cook.. a good cook uses technique and knowledge of food regardless of what a recipe says. They adapt and change things to their own preference and they can do that with wild abandonment because they have amassed the required experience to do so. To share a recipe is to have a discussion about food. It does not, and cannot take away from years of experience gained through trial and error.
2. recipes are in fact a vessel for consistency. When followed to the letter, a well written recipe will achieve consistent results and in applications of commercial food service that is extremely important. In order for this to happen the recipe must not only include ingredients, but also procedure. If a recipe is successful with a product consistently being delivered as a result of the recipe, it is in fact a competitive trade secret in many cases.