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Tri2Cook

Credit where credit is due

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I have two catering jobs coming up in the near future. One of them is for a group of people that I know well. For a really (really) long time there's been a plating in one of the "...View of Plated Desserts" books that I've wanted to do and this seemed like a good opportunity as it's only for about 14 people. I don't normally worry too much about using recipes from books but in this case I would be using a specific plating design which is something I've never done. It's not a matter of trying to achieve cool points for myself, I just really like the design and would gladly give credit where it's due but I'm not sure how I'd go about it. I don't really want to walk out and announce "next we have a dessert designed by..." but I guess I could. Also, would not using the same dessert, just the plating, be disrespectful? Am I overthinking this and making something out of nothing? I realize they were put in a book and made public but I'm talking about a for-profit situation which may change the etiquette.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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You're overthinking it. It's a picture in a book, you like the idea, you are going to use it. End of story. If someone comes up to you after and says Wow, where do you get your ideas, you can say 'I read a lot'. Or something to that effect. Or if you really want to, show them the picture and let them marvel at how much better your rendition was.

As for being disrespectful in using another dessert, what the heck does that even mean? You got a plating idea from a picture. You can do whatever you want. What, are Tish and Timmy going to come to your event and boohoo all over your plates and then send you a rude note? Of course not! :laugh: I would have to say that they wrote the book with people like you in mind...the kind of people who can take an idea and run with it and make it thier own! So go! Run! Create! and take all the credit. After all, you did all the work.

Trust me, I am an EGullet member. :biggrin:


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Ok, now I feel kinda dumb for even asking... so a sincere thanks for the kick in the pants. :biggrin:

I had a feeling it was a dumb question but at the same time I see known chefs (which I realize is a whole different circle than I'm in) in interviews kinda doing the polite, smile-on-their-face "stealing my ideas isn't cool" thing. You know what I mean. "It's interesting that the exact same dish showed up at his restaurant a couple weeks after it debuted at mine, great minds must think alike even if mine thought of it a couple weeks faster than his... but I'm sure that was probably just coincidence". I'll relax now.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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:smile: It's the holiday season, you are probably overworked and overtired. It's better to throw it out there and see what people think than agonize over it.

Sure would love to see some pictures of the plates!


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Give credit if you want. I give credit on my menus like, "a la Bocuse" - Why not?

Jmahl


The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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I respectfully disagree with the point of view that you're "overthinking it". Indeed, giving credit for recipes or plating suggestions is much to the credit of a chef and not giving credit implies something quite different. If you've done place-setting menus, no problem at all in nothing "adapted from ....." and if not, when coming out for your bows to give verbal credit.

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If I am a client, I want quality more than I want originality.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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If it's in a cookbook or magazine, it's there to be copied. That's why it's written. Or photographed. And when your guests compliment you, you can either say, "Yes, I saw it in a book" or you can say, "Yes, I thought it up myself."

!!

Or, you can graciously smile and reply with a humble "Thank you" and not open a door that doesn't necessarily need to be opened.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Thanks everybody. I'll probably go with the "it wasn't my design" approach. The dessert won't be the same as in the book, it will be my own, but the plating isn't mine so I'll feel better making that known. Everything I've done for catering and everything I've posted here (the good, the bad and the ugly) has been completely my own so I'd just feel a little cheesy giving the impression that the design was mine, even if it was only by omitting to say otherwise.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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If it's in a cookbook or magazine, it's there to be copied. That's why it's written. Or photographed. And when your guests compliment you, you can either say, "Yes, I saw it in a book" or you can say, "Yes, I thought it up myself."

!!

I wonder if it might not be more accurate to say that "if it's in a cookbook or magazine, its probably under copyright" and thus protected from commercial use. And even if that is not true, would it not be common courtesy to give credit?

Going a step further, with regard to the comment "Yes, I thought it up myself", how would you feel if one of the diners at the table had seen the article or book in question and knew you were a liar? A rose by any other name may smell as sweet but a lie by any other name remains a lie.

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If it's in a cookbook or magazine, it's there to be copied. That's why it's written. Or photographed. And when your guests compliment you, you can either say, "Yes, I saw it in a book" or you can say, "Yes, I thought it up myself."

!!

I wonder if it might not be more accurate to say that "if it's in a cookbook or magazine, its probably under copyright" and thus protected from commercial use. And even if that is not true, would it not be common courtesy to give credit?

Going a step further, with regard to the comment "Yes, I thought it up myself", how would you feel if one of the diners at the table had seen the article or book in question and knew you were a liar? A rose by any other name may smell as sweet but a lie by any other name remains a lie.

I agree. While the act of publishing may mean that the authors won't mind if it is copied, they may very well mind if the idea is claimed as one's own. There is a term for that and it is plagiarism. The most viewed topic ever in The Daily Gullet and also the one with the most replies, Sincerest Form covers this very ground. The details of the issue may not be quite the same, but the underlying princples certainly are.


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

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I agree. While the act of publishing may mean that the authors won't mind if it is copied, they may very well mind if the idea is claimed as one's own. There is a term for that and it is plagiarism.

I'd say that the only part that is copyrighted is the actual photo. The ideas conveyed in the photo are fair game.

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But to take credit for them is unethical. This idea has been discussed at length, especially with regards to more distinctive aspects of hypermodern cooking. How forthcoming you are in sharing your inspiration is entirely up to you, but I would never want to look the fool and claim an idea as my own when the guest in question has actually had the original.

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Give credit if you want.  I give credit on my menus like, "a la Bocuse" - Why not?

One thing is to give credit about other people's idea/recipe.

Another very different thing is saying that we did it like if it has been done for someone else. And when that "someone else" is a top chef like Paul Bocuse, giving "credit" with the "a la Bocuse" added by the end of the name, has more to do with comercial issues than ethical ones.

If I was a top chef I would prefer not to be credited at all than to be credited by a not that nicely done meal, credited as it has been done my way.

A la Bocuse means done like Bocuse does it...and following a recipe from Bocuse is not a warranty that the final product reaches the same standards as if he had done it himself.

I guess it would be more accurate to credit it like "according to Paul Bocuse's recipe"


Filipe A S

pastry student, food lover & food blogger

there's allways room for some more weight

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Exactly BryanZ. Claiming it as my own idea was never a consideration, that was not going to happen even by implying it, I was just curious about what others thought about going that extra step and actually giving credit to the original.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I think there are a few things to consider here:

First, unless I misunderstand, it sounds like we're talking about a plating, not a whole dish. Unless the plating is slavishly copied to the smallest detail and was distinctively unique to begin with, it sounds reasonable that Tri2Cook's plating is "inspired by" and need not give any explicit credit. I would perhaps consider giving "credit" for a notably unique and attention-gathering plating with a high "wow factor."

Second, it depends on whether the venue and circumstances are such that there is an expectation of originality. There are different expectations with respect to a restaurant chef and a catering chef, and I don't think there is an expectation that a caterer's food (or, for that matter, most of the food at any middlebrow restaurant) is wholely original.


--

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There are different expectations with respect to a restaurant chef  and a catering chef, and I don't think there is an expectation that a caterer's food (or, for that matter, most of the food at any middlebrow restaurant) is wholely original.

I have to disagree with you on that. I'm cool with "I think it's ok/not ok to borrow ideas" but I strongly disagree with "catering customers don't care anyway". I've never borrowed/stolen a dessert idea for a job before. The only reason I was considering it this time is because I've liked it since the first time I saw it and always wanted to do it. It has a sexy elegance about it that I like. This particular job came up which is for people that I know well and they won't feel cheated if I tell them that it wasn't my own, that I saw it in a book, but I wouldn't feel comfy assuming that with all of my catering customers.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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May we see this astounding plating?  I am getting curious!

I don't know that I'd call it "astounding". It's been around a while and I've seen many things right here on the gullet posted by people who don't do it for a living that I'd classify as more "astounding". It's definitely not one of the more complicated or difficult items in the book. I've done a few of them out of the books just for fun and this one is very simple, I've just always really liked it personally. Nobody here would ever know (or care) if I used it and the odds that anybody who will be there has seen the book are extemely small if I wanted to pass it off as my own (which I don't). I was just interested in hearing what others thought on the subject and I've enjoyed reading what everyone's had to say. As for which one I'm talking about, it's not meant to be a secret. It's just against the rules to post copyrighted pics so I did a quick google search and it turned up. You can see it HERE.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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That's on the front cover of a desert book, Grand Finales, right? It is eye catching. It would be difficult to hide the fact that you are copying the presentation, if hiding is your intention. I recognized the picture on that book immediately and I don't have that book. Is it a themed dinner that would tie in the dessert presentation to something?

Tuiles are easy to enough to manipulate, so making your own stencil out of a piece of plastic is very simple. Personally, I would rather make stensils of maple leaves and oak leaves. The fallen leaves effect makes the dessert, more seasonal, wintery.

I had a brief discussion about copyright laws with an Uncle practicing corporate law and his opinnion is as long as you do not use the copyrighted material for commercial use, just personal, no laws are broken.

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It's not on the cover of any of the three books from that series, I have them all sitting on a shelf with most of my other books, and I have no interest whatsoever in trying to pass it off as my own design. I thought I made that part clear from the start but maybe I didn't do a good job of it. I'm not trying to find a way to get away with that. I was just curious what others thought on the subject of borrowing an idea and giving credit to those you borrow from.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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From the perspective of someone who will be eating the food, I wouldn't expect that a caterer would list all inspiration for any dish, whether it be the recipe or a plating. I might ask a question about how he/she came up with the idea and a truthful response would be appreciated, but I wouldn't expect it beforehand. I can't imagine any of my friends doing anything but saying "Wow!" on an well-executed presentation. And I am doubtful any of your guests would have seen the books, but you know them better than I.

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It's not on the cover of any of the three books from that series, I have them all sitting on a shelf with most of my other books, and I have no interest whatsoever in trying to pass it off as my own design. I thought I made that part clear from the start but maybe I didn't do a good job of it. I'm not trying to find a way to get away with that. I was just curious what others thought on the subject of borrowing an idea and giving credit to those you borrow from.

I apologize if my previous post implied that you were trying to "pass it off as your own design, it was not my intention. I just wanted to add my 2 cents worth to the till.

Chefs I've worked for and with constantly took credit for other peoples work. Some people call this marketting. Burrowing ideas, and not giving credit, is something commonly done in our trade. I would not say anything unless asked. To most diners, I am sure, this is irrelvant.


Edited by Fugu (log)

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No apology due, I didn't think you were implying anything and I'm not that thin-skinned if you had been. I just want to be sure my intention is clear. I agree completely that many things in the food world are borrowed or blatantly stolen but I try not to intentionally work that way most of the time. This was meant to be a tribute to my appreciation of the design, not a theft of it, but that's a thin line to walk I guess.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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