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#31 nick.kokonas

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 11:48 AM

it is not my position that anything illegal took place. As Chef Cantu said, it would not be possible to police -- nor could we even define the borders. Nor, in my opinion, is it even desirable. IP protection for a process with wide consumer applications is a different matter.

Nonetheless, I do think that there are times when an invisible line is crossed... it just feels wrong. Everyone's moral compass is different, but sometimes it is obvious. I very much understand that this has no legal meaning.

In writing, unless a novel is exceptionally successful (like the da vinci code right now), there is no other penalty other than the consternation of your peers. In academia it is largely the same. It seems the same here too.

The difference here as well is that it is not a technique or a tool adopted or a recipe that was followed or a presentation copied. It was all of the above.

I should add that Chef G received a lengthy apology from Chef Wickens. In Alinea's book, this incident is closed.

#32 Kouign Aman

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:02 PM

IMO, at the Big-Name-Chef level, copying recipe and presentation without attribution is rude.
I can see a purpose in providing such copies, at a geographical location so far removed from the source. There is a simple method by which one can provide both attribution and get credit for execution and creative menu planning. List it as Blahblah ala Whosits or Blahblah de Whosits.
As a consumer, I'd be impressed the restauranteur is providing items from such a high level of world-wide creativity, but there'd be no fear I'd mistake it for the kitchens' own creation.
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#33 Fat Guy

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:03 PM

My point is that there used to not be such a thing as food plagiarism--it was not an issue since it was accepted practice.

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Plagiarism is representing someone else's work as your own. I don't see how this was ever an accepted practice in cuisine. When a chef cooks Peche Melba, it's not an attempt to pass off Peche Melba as the chef's own work. The dish is part of what in writing would be called common knowledge.

Certainly, there are some examples that come close to the line. The evolution of a dish, and the exact point at which it passes from being the invention of one chef to being common knowledge, is not the easiest thing in the world to track. But some of these things are no brainers. On the one hand, molten-center chocolate cake has passed into common knowledge. It's not plagiarism to make it, the chef who serves it isn't really representing it as his own -- though maybe he'll give it a little twist of some sort -- and only seriously inexperienced diners will assume it's the chef's invention. On the other hand, these dishes from Alinea and WD-50 are quite unique and have certainly not passed into common knowledge such that it would be good form to serve them without attribution.

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#34 sizzleteeth

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:12 PM

Nonetheless, I do think that there are times when an invisible line is crossed... it just feels wrong.  Everyone's moral compass is different, but sometimes it is obvious.  I very much understand that this has no legal meaning.

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This post is going to make me highly unpopular, which I am prepared to accept - but no
one else is coming out and saying it - so I'm going to.

If there is an invisible line - it was crossed long ago.

I can remember the first version of the Moto website back in '03 said in great big letters:

"In the tradition of great chefs like Charlie Trotter and Ferran Adria".

I think I may even have a PDF of it somewhere.

It's common knowledge that Achatz staged at El Bulli for a week and then came back
and started doing cuisine in the style of Ferran Adria- something he has been ragged
about numerous times, has commented on himself and still to this day seems as though
he publicly diminishes the fact that this is where a great deal of his inspiration came from
- though his Keller influence also comes through undeniably.

We have chefs with "labs" wearing lab-coats using liquid nitrogen and alginate, centrifuges and plating things in such a similar style that my guess is if you put all the dishes on Flash cards and showed them to a cross section of people - they wouldn't be able to tell what came from where.

I realize chefs are in a position where they are like diamond inspectors and can tell the
difference between a G color diamond and a nearly G color diamond and separate
them into piles - but most people can't.

To many many many people out here it looks as though they have embodied
El Bulli - Adria himself has even made comments about this to the media.

In my opinion - these people owe their existence to people like Trotter, Adria and Keller (whom in turn owe their existence to others) whom they have derived the large part of their success from and who's styles are blatantly evident in what they do.

If anybody is going to start the process of pointing fingers for crossing invisible lines, copying,
or if anyone is going to start charging for their ideas - then I believe the men above
deserve a big fat payout.

Then let the scrambling begin from that point.


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#35 nick.kokonas

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:23 PM

Actually, you bring up an excellent point...

indeed, I think both Grant and Homaro have acknowledged their debt to Chef Adria in forwarding cuisine -- and chef Adria himself cites others like Arzak. Grant frequently cites Chef Keller as his mentor -- I don't know how much more strongly he can make that case.

However, when Chef Adria dined at Moto and Alinea earlier this month, he was not presented with any courses that were ever served at El Bulli. In fact, he was impressed with the level of creativity and innovation present at both restaurants -- his direct quote to me is that "everyone here takes this incredibly seriously and it is evident -- you should be very proud".

As you say, "and whom in turn owe their existence to others" on down the line.


I reiterate -- the very purpose of a stage is to learn techniques and ideas and then apply them to your own ideas and develop a personal style. You don't need to be a diamond inspector to seperate the dishes in question into piles... my 6 year old can tell that they are the same originiation.

#36 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:24 PM

Certainly, there are some examples that come close to the line. The evolution of a dish, and the exact point at which it passes from being the invention of one chef to being common knowledge, is not the easiest thing in the world to track. But some of these things are no brainers. On the one hand, molten-center chocolate cake has passed into common knowledge. It's not plagiarism to make it, the chef who serves it isn't really representing it as his own -- though maybe he'll give it a little twist of some sort -- and only seriously inexperienced diners will assume it's the chef's invention. On the other hand, these dishes from Alinea and WD-50 are quite unique and have certainly not passed into common knowledge such that it would be good form to serve them without attribution.

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FWIW, I think this is the answer.

#37 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:27 PM

Although you have to wonder, when do dishes pass into the "public domain"?

Like, when the first person copied Vongerichten's molten chocolate cake, was he plagiarizing? Was it wrong at first to serve that dish without attribution, but became OK later? And how about Nobu's sable? Was the first Japanese fusion place to copy it wrong, but now it's OK? (Or does someone with more functioning brain cells than me recall that, at first, these dishes were attributed on other menus? -- Not my recollection, I think.)

Again, these aren't rhetorical questions. I really want to know people's answers.

Edited by Sneakeater, 20 March 2006 - 12:30 PM.


#38 sizzleteeth

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:43 PM

However, when Chef Adria dined at Moto and Alinea earlier this month, he was not presented with any courses that were ever served at El Bulli.  In fact, he was impressed with the level of creativity and innovation present at both restaurants -- his direct quote to me is that "everyone here takes this incredibly seriously and it is evident -- you should be very proud".

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Indeed it does seem they have executed things very well - nor should they not be proud of their achievements.

I was merely pointing out that where you personally seem to draw the invisible line (specific dishes) and where I perceive the invisible line (readily identifiable and attributable concepts, ideas, techniques etc etc of known or even unknown individuals or groups) are very different - as my perception of the line is farther back than yours.

It also does indeed seem evident that these particular dishes were copied - but the point brought by many here is where is that line drawn?

Yes, they have both acknowledge their debt - I never meant to imply they didn't - in some way.

But the level of detail that things are being taken to here begs the question as to whether or not
their mentors should be mentioned and credited in nearly every facet of their operation - for instance when we see a Moto or Alinea cookbook - are we going to see a "Thanks Charlie, Ferran and Thomas" section?

Because it certainly seems to me that many want to own everything after a certain point of "evolution" has been crossed.

Edited by sizzleteeth, 20 March 2006 - 03:54 PM.



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#39 Pan

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:45 PM

I doubt we'd be having this conversation if the imitated dishes in question hadn't been posted on a website. So one thing I'd like all of you to consider is whether the true offense wasn't so much presenting the dishes without attribution in one restaurant but broadcasting them to the world as if they were originals. Do any of you think it would be OK to present copies of dishes without explicit attribution on the menu, as long as they weren't web-posted and, let's say their origins would be admitted in response to a question by a knowledgeable diner? I would argue in favor of, when in doubt, disclose explicitly, but I'd like to read your views.

#40 Fat Guy

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:49 PM

Like, when the first person copied Vongerichten's molten chocolate cake, was he plagiarizing?  Was it wrong at first to serve that dish without attribution, but became OK later?  And how about Nobu's sable?  Was the first Japanese fusion place to copy it wrong, but now it's OK? 

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I think there's a much sharper focus on invention in avant-garde cuisine than in the case of either of the dishes you've referenced. For one thing, I'm not at all certain that Jean-Georges and Nobu are the inventors of those dishes. A pastry chef could tell us if it was Georges Blanc or a predecessor, and I believe there's at least a claim that Tojo served the miso cod dish first. However, that's not really the point. Each of those dishes represents such a gradual evolution that it's not so clearly marked as an invention. The molten-center chocolate cake is a small variation on various other chocolate pastries. When you get into this avant-garde stuff, though, you're dealing with some pretty radical breaks: a whole new way of making noodles, the anti-griddle, etc. That's a big part of why, I think, the question of copying has been mostly in the background until now. There was grumbling about unoriginal chefs, but there wasn't the same kind of invention we have now.

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#41 Kouign Aman

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:51 PM

Pan,
I surely wouldnt know of the situation if not for the web pix. I lean toward attribution. Its good manners.

FatGuy, are you saying chefs shouldnt borrow techniques? Quelle horreur (sp?) - we all have to go back to raw food!

<editted to respond to simultaneous FG post>

Edited by Kouign Aman, 20 March 2006 - 12:53 PM.

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#42 Fat Guy

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:53 PM

whether the true offense wasn't so much presenting the dishes without attribution in one restaurant but broadcasting them to the world as if they were originals

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Since when does such a question depend on getting caught or on how many people find out?

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#43 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:55 PM

I think there's a much sharper focus on invention in avant-garde cuisine than in the case of either of the dishes you've referenced. For one thing, I'm not at all certain that Jean-Georges and Nobu are the inventors of those dishes. A pastry chef could tell us if it was Georges Blanc or a predecessor, and I believe there's at least a claim that Tojo served the miso cod dish first. However, that's not really the point. Each of those dishes represents such a gradual evolution that it's not so clearly marked as an invention. The molten-center chocolate cake is a small variation on various other chocolate pastries. When you get into this avant-garde stuff, though, you're dealing with some pretty radical breaks: a whole new way of making noodles, the anti-griddle, etc. That's a big part of why, I think, the question of copying has been mostly in the background until now. There was grumbling about unoriginal chefs, but there wasn't the same kind of invention we have now.

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Thanks. That was the answer I was looking for.

#44 nick.kokonas

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:56 PM

I would bet that the would be Alinea book would indeed include a thanks to Adria, and most especially Keller.

But the point of evolution is crossed when a chef begins to develop techniques of their own. It is interesting to note that in the history of visual art, is is not uncommon for two artists to simultaneously develop a similar style or technique even though they were seperated culturally and quite literally by many miles. So it is possible, and even quite likely, that two chefs will come up with similar ideas independently of one-another.

Nonetheless, Cezanne did not see a painting of another artist and then go home and paint the identical subject and proclaim it as his own. Often it is a gray area, sometimes it is not.


I think Fat Guy has hit the nail on the head all around. I nominate him to be my spokesperson from here out -- but only on this topic, please!

#45 FoodMan

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:04 PM

Wow! Great discussion everyone.

In reality, who cares if a restaurant in Melbourne offers up a dish from a restaurant in New York, and pretends it's their own?


IMO, the copying restaurant itself should care. Whether there is a law against it or not, a chef who simply copies a unique dish created by another, with no credit is wrong. No one might be able to sue him for doing it, but he (or she) must know that it is wrong.

Sizzleteeth- Cantu or Achatz using what they learned from Adria to create their own unique dishes is very different than copying an Adria dish verbatim to the last garnish.

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#46 pen_h

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:12 PM

This argument is one of intellectual property. I'm not a lawyer, but it would be interesting to hear the legal perspective on patents and copyrights as it applies to food.

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Intellectual property protection for recipes is notoriously weak, unless you want to spend a lot of time and money and get a patent. A patent would give you the right to be the only person or company to use the recipe. You'd have to patent in all the countries you feel you would be at risk or would want to protect yourself, and you'd have to keep an eye out and sue anyone infringing your patent - it's only a right to protect yourself, the government doesn't police this at all. This is an extremely expensive proposition.

Patents - This route is usually only used by large food manufacturing companies, as they can afford to use it. For an example, go to www.uspto.gov and search for patent 6,783,782 - Grooved freezer-to-oven pizza crust - owned by Pillsbury. They note the size, shape, position of grooves, and other detailed information. If they found anyone else doing the same thing, they could sue them for infringement. You could put together your own US patent for a few thousand dollars (plus renewal fees), but if you brought in a lawyer it could easily cost tens of thousands. And that's before you sue anyone.

Design patents - Design patents are utilized to protect the novel ornamental features of a utilitarian object. I haven't looked at how this applies to recipes, but especially with visual presentations, this may be a way forward. But again, it would be expensive (although much cheaper than a utility patent) and will need to be defended.

Copyright - A mere listing of ingredients for a recipe is not copyrightable. However, if eg. a cookbook or other author spices up his or her recipes with explanatory material, such material is protectible. One court has suggested that this could include advice on wines to go with the meal, hints on place settings and appropriate music, or tales of a recipe’s historical or ethnic origin. (Publications Int’l Ltd v. Meredith Corp., 88 F.3d 473 (7th Cir. 1996) http://www.pddoc.com..._v_meredith.htm. Photographs or drawings included in a cookbook would also be copyrightable unless taken from other public domain sources. Keep in mind, however, that it is only the individual bare-bones recipes that are in the public domain. A collection of numerous recipes can be protected as a compilation. But in this event the copyright only extends to the selection and arrangements of the recipes as a whole. The individual recipes are still not protected.

Copyright of photographs - Only photos that are original can have copyright protection. What can be protected is:
- The way the photograph is made – choice of time, light exposure, camera angle or perspective, etc
- The arrangement of the people, scenery, or other subjects depicted
- A photo that recreates a scene unlikely to recur, eg a battle between an elephant and a tiger
So, the item that is photographed can't really be protected - you could photograph a similar subject with different artistic choices without infringing photograph copyright.

This information all comes from various NOLO books, especially The public domain – how to find & use copyright-free writings, music, art & more by Stephen Fishman, 2004. NOLO have easy-to-read legal books, and I love them.

#47 docsconz

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:47 PM

Great thread topic.

I will attempt to answer Sizzleteeth's questions as well. Influence is ubiquitous. Everyone is influenced by others both positively and negatively. It is certainly courteous to recognize conscious influences, but impossible to recognize all subconscious influences. While courteous, it shouldn't be necessary. The whole world of the stagiere is built upon being influenced. The chef of a restaurant using staiges counts on the staige being influenced and disseminating ideas. The chef gains in stature by subsequent emulation with their proteges utilizing techniques and styles. However, if that protege was to blatantly copy a recipe and claim it for him or herself that is clearly a different story. Copy it and offer it as homage to the originator? Sure, that is where imitation is flattery.

As for photographs of food on the internet - it cuts both ways. I see it as protection for the truly creative chef. While another chef may get ideas, the presentation at least should be protected. Where they gray area starts coming into play is when chefs start doing riffs on original creations. At what point does the new creation belong to the chef? Is it a change of one ingredient? A slight change in plating? Obviously, the closer a recipe and presentation is to the original the clearer the infraction is. I agree though, that ultimately it is a question of ethics. If a dish is clearly a take on a previous dish identifiable as a creation it should be credited as such. If it is a dish that is a variation on a dish within a cultural domain or widely known, "credit" is not only not necessary, it would be difficult to attribute.
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#48 sizzleteeth

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:47 PM

Sizzleteeth- Cantu or Achatz using what they learned from Adria to create their own unique dishes is very different than copying an Adria dish verbatim to the last garnish.

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Let me be the first to admit that I do not come from a position of innocence.

In my time I have lied, cheated and stolen - outright traced patterns line for line, screwed people over, been blinded by greed and generally made some bad decisions - especially in my younger days.

I'll even give you examples if you like.

I make no claim otherwise and I really hope I have learned my lesson from those past occurrences and do not repeat my mistakes in the future - though as a human being I am not immune to anything that may cause something like that to occur.

I'm not a chef, my food is not the most delicious you've ever eaten nor are the things I cook the most innovative - as I said before - as far as I know, as a person in any aspect of my life I am not doing anything in exclusion of all others

But I believe that is the question we are trying to answer, is it very different when you get down to specifics?

I'll be interested to see what the outcome is - as I can only speak from my personal point of view - which contains many filters and many biases - even as much as I try to avoid those very things.

Edited by sizzleteeth, 20 March 2006 - 01:49 PM.



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#49 docsconz

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:48 PM

By the way, welcome to eGullet, pen_h!
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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#50 schneich

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 03:38 PM

somehow i think this topic had to come up...


before getting into detail i have to say that we will absolutely get nowhere with any copycat accusations at all. the thing that we call "avantgarde cuisine" is a brand new artform, and comes with all the "influenced by" side effects. i strongly believe in the phrase "what goes around comes around" thats why whenever i discover something cool i let others know just for the sake of it (as i did with peelzyme for example ;-) to chef cantu i want to say i feel deeply sorry for his staffers who need to sign any nda´s :-(

i PERSONALLY think (and i dont want bother anyone here)
that i might not be that proud of beeing solely known
for the "invention" of the spicerubbed inkjetted yet eatable wafer


cheers

torsten s.

Edited by schneich, 20 March 2006 - 03:41 PM.

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#51 kangarool

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 03:55 PM

When money and fame are involved, it’s pretty well a given that the worst of humankind comes to the fore. So, my suspicion is that Wickens hasn't (re)created the Interlude menu to pay homage to WD50 or any others. It's far more plausible that he did it because he gambled that those of us in Melbourne wouldn't ever connect the dots… he’d get the fame and the press and accolades (which he has: "Best New Talent" in GourmetTraveler, one of Oz leading mainstream food publications, last year) … which in turn leads to more bookings… and the whole party continues.

Unless you get caught out.

The other interesting aspect to the controversy, as someone alluded to above, is the economics of morality.

Although he may well be concerned about his professional standing and credentials now, both in Australia and around the world, it is extremely doubtful that chefrobin is concerned about the monetary impact of this rarefied controversy. Most of his potential diners aren’t on these boards, and even if they are, they probably would still book a table, pay the bill, enjoy the night out … quite possibly even more now that there’s a frisson of scandal wafting up from the shrimp noodles. I seriously doubt that I’ll refrain from booking a table there because of this. The food is supposedly superb… although I may well think about giving someone else in town a fair go, whereas I wouldn’t have thought twice before.

Regardless, it might pay for him to think more long term. The professional fallout from his menu-ripoffs will almost certainly impact and call into question his "best talent" status in the industry and press… leading to fewer coverboy profiles, as the food press won’t want to be seen favouring a fraud (even if he’s only been a fraction "fraudulent", if at all).

And then the whole party starts winding down. In the long run, it might have paid to push a bit harder and devise your own dishes.

#52 646522

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:08 PM

He's copying our dishes EXACTLY, using OUR recipes, plating them the SAME way! What is right about that?

Wylie

#53 pedro

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:19 PM

Back in 1985, two of the most idiosyncratic personalities of gastronomy in Spain, Stephane Guerin and Arturo Pardos opened in Madrid the restaurant La Gastroteca de Stéphane y Arturo. A few months after the opening, they read the news from France: there were some very important chefs who were truly outraged and protested at what they considered an unbearable abuse: there were some Japanese chefs who were shamelessly copying their signature dishes, and adding insult to injury, didn't credit the original authors. The indignant French chefs wondered if the time of getting some copyright fees hasn't come.

Stephane and Arturo soon realized that they were nothing more than humble copyists and that the claims made by the French chefs were legitimate. So, they began to pay royalties to eight great French chefs as a sign of respect and compensation, something they called "Le Copyright des Fourneaux" (the stoves Copyright). Each month, they sent to the Eights the 1.25% of the price of the copied dish multiplied by the number of sold dishes in the given month. Soon after, replies began to arrive:

Michel Guerard: " I do appreciate very much the decision you've made in what it concerns to me, regarding the compensation of a certain kind of author rights, but I can't accept it. I'm deeply touched by your letter and your great honesty. PS: you'll receive, by return of post, a money order of 55.40F"

Pierre Troisgros: "Your honesty honors you and we can't but congratulate you for the diligences you've made for us. Nonetheless, we don't believe necessary to continue with them in the future, because annoying formalities would derive for very little. All in all, to avoid complications returning back your money, we have splitted it among the cooks."

Roger Verge: "The method you're proposing is extremely nice, but in order of being truly applicable and not getting me engaged in vain, it would require a study carried out by a lawyer, something that would cost far more than the profits I could make. Unless, of course, you find a method more seductive to propose."

Alain Senderens: "We are very proud that in your menu appears the name of the creator of the dishes, but we don't ask any royalties for the sales. I enclose a return check."

Jacques Maximin didn't answer.

Andre Daguin, after consulting a handful of specialists, said that "that" was impossible. He invited them to a feast at his Hotel de France instead.

On January 15 1987, they received a letter in his own hand from the Empereur himself: "Dear Madam, dear Sir: I appreciate your kindness, but I'd rather ask you to save the royalties to buy me a paella when I visit Madrid, because I don't know how to cook it. During this nice impasse, I send you all my sympathy and best wishes for 1987. Paul Bocuse PS: I enclose you a reimbursement check.

And Arturo Pardos, in his book El Ocaso de las Paellas (The Paellas Sunset) concludes: "None of the big shots accepted the royalties: were they afraid of the responsibility? should we infere, therefore, that they copied too? And if they copy or copied, why are they offended when they are copied"
PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

#54 jwanger

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:33 PM

I'd like to bring a question in from a customer's point of view if I might...If I was paying however much (and I'm sure it's a pretty penny) to go to this restaurant, I expect a certain quality of food there, and part of that includes it being unique. If I want something I've heard of, I won't go to the restaurant with the big name chef who offers a certain dining experience, I'll go to the French bistro on the corner or the steakhouse or wherever. As a customer at one of these high-end places, I'd hope I'm getting my money's worth, and at a restaurant like this part of that includes being served unique food and being told truthfully if something was taken from somewhere else.
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#55 docsconz

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:43 PM

Back in 1985, two of the most idiosyncratic personalities of gastronomy in Spain, Stephane Guerin and Arturo Pardos opened in Madrid the restaurant La  Gastroteca de Stéphane y Arturo. A few months after the opening, they read the news from France: there were some very important chefs who were truly outraged and protested at what they considered an unbearable abuse: there were some Japanese chefs who were shamelessly copying their signature dishes, and adding insult to injury, didn't credit the original authors. The indignant French chefs wondered if the time of getting some copyright fees hasn't come.

Stephane and Arturo soon realized that they were nothing more than humble copyists and that the claims made by the French chefs were legitimate. So, they began to pay royalties to eight great French chefs as a sign of respect and compensation, something they called "Le Copyright des Fourneaux" (the stoves Copyright). Each month, they sent to the Eights the 1.25% of the price of the copied dish multiplied by the number of sold dishes in the given month. Soon after, replies began to arrive:

Michel Guerard: " I do appreciate very much the decision you've made in what it concerns to me, regarding the compensation of a certain kind of author rights, but I can't accept it. I'm deeply touched by your letter and your great honesty. PS: you'll receive, by return of post, a money order of 55.40F"

Pierre Troisgros: "Your honesty honors you and we can't but congratulate you for the diligences you've made for us. Nonetheless, we don't believe necessary to continue with them in the future, because annoying formalities would derive for very little. All in all, to avoid complications returning back your money, we have splitted it among the cooks."

Roger Verge: "The method you're proposing is extremely nice, but in order of being truly applicable and not getting me engaged in vain, it would require a study carried out by a lawyer, something that would cost far more than the profits I could make. Unless, of course, you find a method more seductive to propose."

Alain Senderens: "We are very proud that in your menu appears the name of the creator of the dishes, but we don't ask any royalties for the sales. I enclose a return check."

Jacques Maximin didn't answer.

Andre Daguin, after consulting a handful of specialists,  said that "that" was impossible. He invited them to a feast at his Hotel de France instead.

On January 15 1987, they received a letter in his own hand from the Empereur himself: "Dear Madam, dear Sir: I appreciate your kindness, but I'd rather ask you to save the royalties to buy me a paella when I visit Madrid, because I don't know how to cook it.  During this nice impasse, I send you all my sympathy and best wishes for 1987. Paul Bocuse PS: I enclose you a reimbursement check.

And Arturo Pardos, in his book El Ocaso de las Paellas concludes: "None of the big shots accepted the royalties: were they afraid of the responsibility? should we infere, therefore, that they copied too? And if they copy or copied. why are they offended when they are copied"

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This is very instructive, Pedro, but Guerin and Pardos did the right thing in acknowledging their sources and influences. They gave credit where it was due. That the French chefs responded the way they did was only appropropriate as they received what they really wanted - the recognition.

Is anyone here really defending the practice that jumpstarted this discussion? It would be one thing if the copieed dishes at least bore acknowledgements of the fact that they were copies of very specific dishes. Degree of influence is a gray area. Direct copying with attribution and permission is clearly ok, direct copying but without permission is gray zone that probably wouldn't win a chef accolades, but would probably fall in the morally acceptable range, but direct copying in a plagiaristic fashion? Where can there be an argument here? I would have been thrown out of College if I did that.
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Twitter - @docsconz

#56 pedro

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:55 PM

John, you're right, of course. Nonetheless, I thought it was a relevant example to illustrate that some people, twenty years ago, tried to credit their sources and went a step beyond that and the answer they received.

That said, I have a hard time finding differences between the "direct copying without permission" and "copying in a plagiaristic form." Less than two months ago, I was served in a recently opened NY avant-garde restaurant a dish directly coming from elBulli 2004 without any credit given. Who knows how this dish appeared in the restaurant? Since the recipe is now in the public domain through elBulli books, is it right not to credit the source?
PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

#57 sizzleteeth

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:56 PM

Degree of influence is a gray area. Direct copying with attribution and permission is clearly ok, direct copying but without permission is gray zone that probably wouldn't win a chef accolades, but would probably fall in the morally acceptable range, but direct copying in a plagiaristic fashion? Where can there be an argument here? I would have been thrown out of College if I did that.

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I don't think anyone is defending plagiarism.

I can't speak for anyone else but I'm personally asking where does plagiarism begin?

And if you are guilty of plaigiarism at any level, at any line - do you have any place being upset
if you are plagiarized.

That is also what I took from the last line of Pedro's post.

The whole, "he who is without sin cast the first stone" deal.

And for damn sure - make sure you don't "live in a glass house".


nathan gray

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan


#58 Fat Guy

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 05:00 PM

but direct copying in a plagiaristic fashion? Where can there be an argument here? I would have been thrown out of College if I did that.

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I think to most folks familiar with the academic literature on plagiarism, this will seem an open and shut case. The only possible open issue I can find here revolves around the specific standards -- if any -- used in the culinary world. A given discipline or art does have some ability to set standards for itself. But while it is important to examine those standards, no set of standards can cover for an outright misrepresentation of another person's ideas as one's own.

I think failing to take this incident seriously would be a failure to take the culinary arts seriously. The culinary inferiority complex needs to end. The relevant practitioners need to acknowledge that cuisine can be art -- that it can represent the height of the human spirit and intellect -- before there can be serious talk of standards.

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#59 docsconz

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 05:03 PM

Degree of influence is a gray area. Direct copying with attribution and permission is clearly ok, direct copying but without permission is gray zone that probably wouldn't win a chef accolades, but would probably fall in the morally acceptable range, but direct copying in a plagiaristic fashion? Where can there be an argument here? I would have been thrown out of College if I did that.

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I don't think anyone is defending plagiarism.

I can't speak for anyone else but I'm personally asking where does plagiarism begin?

And if you are guilty of plaigiarism at any level, at any line - do you have any place being upset
if you are plagiarized.

That is also what I took from the last line of Pedro's post.

The whole, "he who is without sin cast the first stone" deal.

And for damn sure - make sure you don't "live in a glass house".

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I would say that the whole stagiere tradition is one that not only tolerates passing on of ideas and style but downright encourages it. It does not encourage theft. If one takes a technique from someone and uses it in an original way achieving a novel result that is not plagiarism IMO. That is creativity. If one takes the same thing, delivers it and calls it one's own that is plagiarism.
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

#60 docsconz

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 05:07 PM

but direct copying in a plagiaristic fashion? Where can there be an argument here? I would have been thrown out of College if I did that.

View Post

I think to most folks familiar with the academic literature on plagiarism, this will seem an open and shut case. The only possible open issue I can find here revolves around the specific standards -- if any -- used in the culinary world. A given discipline or art does have some ability to set standards for itself. But while it is important to examine those standards, no set of standards can cover for an outright misrepresentation of another person's ideas as one's own.

I think failing to take this incident seriously would be a failure to take the culinary arts seriously. The culinary inferiority complex needs to end. The relevant practitioners need to acknowledge that cuisine can be art -- that it can represent the height of the human spirit and intellect -- before there can be serious talk of standards.

View Post


I fully agree with this statement. It is important to remember that in this case the question is not a legal one, but one of ethics and respect and yes respect not just for the specific chefs involved (although that is an issue as well) but for the culinary arts in general.
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz





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