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Interlude food similarities


tb86
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I am an Australian Chef in NY and was looking at the interlude website and relized that a lot of the food has been copied identically from some of the top chef here for example the prawn noodle dish look at the photo and then go to www.wd-50.com and then look under images to see what I mean also check the menu of Moto and Alinia true talent is to be admired where as plagerism is a sign of no talent

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Thought i should post my reply.

With regards to the prawn noodle dish this came about after getting hold of some 'transglutiminaise'. Rather than just throwing it radomily into food, we had a recipe for the prawn noodles and started there, we then played around with recipes and new recipes to see what we could come up with . We now use it in completly new and original dishes. My trip to America and staging at Alinea gave me ideas and i saw new techniques that after cooking for over ten years in some pretty good restaurants i had seen before. When i got back to my own kitchen of course we played around and saw how we could use these techniques in our own food.

We have quite a few dishes on our menus and they change about every 6 weeks. We are always coming up with new and evolved dishes for our menus.

I totally agree that Chefs Achatz, Cantu and Dufresne are some of the top chefs in the world but I am sure they would agree that true originality comes from inspiration itself. If they do come up with a new technique as say someone like Ferron Adria has in the past. Of course people are going to imitate it and evolve it.

Robin Wickens

Chef/Proprietor

Interlude, Melbourne

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Thought i should post my reply.

With regards to the prawn noodle dish this came about after getting hold of some 'transglutiminaise'. Rather than just throwing it radomily into food, we had a recipe for the prawn noodles and started there, we then played around with recipes and new recipes to see what we could come up with . We now use it in completly new and original dishes. My trip to America and staging at Alinea gave me ideas and i saw new techniques that after cooking for over ten years in some pretty good restaurants i had seen before. When i got back to my own kitchen of course we played around and saw how we could use these techniques in our own food.

We have quite a few dishes on our menus and they change about every 6 weeks. We are always coming up with new and evolved dishes for our menus.

I totally agree that Chefs Achatz, Cantu and Dufresne are some of the top chefs in the world but I am sure they would agree that true originality comes from inspiration itself. If they do come up with a new technique as say someone like Ferron Adria has in the past. Of course people are going to imitate it and evolve it.

I understand what you are saying.... but copying someone elses food right down to the componets flavours and plate style and then putting a photo of it on your website letting people think its yours is not evolution.... i lived in Sydney so it doesn't mean I can build a copy of the opera house in NY and call it mine or to put the confit of ocean trout from Tetsuya on my menu slightly change the way its plated and call it mine ... We also have transglutiminaise but we found out the temperature and what types protien it works best with enabling us to our own original dishes for our menu... The reason I checked out your website was because the guys from wd-50 were asked if it was the common thing to do in Australia(put copies of other peoples food on your website ) the shrimp noodles www.wd-50.com look in images or the Caramelised Apple, Miso Ice Cream, Preserved Plum from the pastry chef at wd-50 www.sammasonnyc.com look under recipes also the squab watermelon and Liquorice dish which i had at alinea when i dinned there..... is this also evolution ?

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Thought i should post my reply.

With regards to the prawn noodle dish this came about after getting hold of some 'transglutiminaise'. Rather than just throwing it radomily into food, we had a recipe for the prawn noodles and started there, we then played around with recipes and new recipes to see what we could come up with . We now use it in completly new and original dishes. My trip to America and staging at Alinea gave me ideas and i saw new techniques that after cooking for over ten years in some pretty good restaurants i had seen before. When i got back to my own kitchen of course we played around and saw how we could use these techniques in our own food.

We have quite a few dishes on our menus and they change about every 6 weeks. We are always coming up with new and evolved dishes for our menus.

I totally agree that Chefs Achatz, Cantu and Dufresne are some of the top chefs in the world but I am sure they would agree that true originality comes from inspiration itself. If they do come up with a new technique as say someone like Ferron Adria has in the past. Of course people are going to imitate it and evolve it.

I understand what you are saying.... but copying someone elses food right down to the componets flavours and plate style and then putting a photo of it on your website letting people think its yours is not evolution.... i lived in Sydney so it doesn't mean I can build a copy of the opera house in NY and call it mine or to put the confit of ocean trout from Tetsuya on my menu slightly change the way its plated and call it mine ... We also have transglutiminaise but we found out the temperature and what types protien it works best with enabling us to our own original dishes for our menu... The reason I checked out your website was because the guys from wd-50 were asked if it was the common thing to do in Australia(put copies of other peoples food on your website ) the shrimp noodles www.wd-50.com look in images or the Caramelised Apple, Miso Ice Cream, Preserved Plum from the pastry chef at wd-50 www.sammasonnyc.com look under recipes also the squab watermelon and Liquorice dish which i had at alinea when i dinned there..... is this also evolution ?

why dont you also check out the menus at cru and guilt restaurants in ny for some more "evolutionary" ideas for your next menu and if you are so sure of the evolution of the similar food why were the links to the photos removed in the last 24 hrs New york is watching you

Edited by aussiechef76 (log)
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The heat is on so to speak.

Can I suggest that we consider the whole concept of originality and plagiarism etc, especially in the context of food and chefs and recipes and so on and so forth.

I mean, is every restaurant serving duck confit and beef burgundy obliged to be totally original? No, workmanship is the key. The quality of the end product. Putting up French posters on the wall and hand scribbled specials simply isn't going to cut it.

Then push to the other extreme. Man, there are some big egos at play here.

If things were so secret, would Keller have put out two books? Aida work the 'celeb chef' circuit? Would Robin have been invited/allowed to stage at all these places? I guess it's the flipside of the ego, ie. the sharing and dissemination of one's work so that via tutelage, others may be inspired and take things forward.

Putting the politics aside, many in Melbourne are grateful that we have access to the kinds of things being done and touted about outside our shores. Perhaps acknowledgement of the source is one way to assuage misunderstandings.

I eagerly look forward to the progression of this discussion :biggrin:

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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The heat is on so to speak.

Can I suggest that we consider the whole concept of originality and plagiarism etc, especially in the context of food and chefs and recipes and so on and so forth.

Well, the problem is that your not eating the food of a chef, but the food of a sous chef, true, it's a sous chef seperated by 6000 miles and 6 months but a sous chef still the same.

It's perfectly well and good to use existing recipes as a base for your own creations, however, for most chefs, this is happening in the back room, not being placed in star status on their menus for punters to pay the privledge of trying.

I look forward to seeing what chef robin can do with his new found inspirations and hope that he can lend his own unique culinary personality onto these dishes.

PS: I am a guy.

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Saying that replicating these dishes verbatim and then adding them to your menu (for profit, I might add) is the first step in an evolution would be like if I were to re-record Miles's Davis' 'Kind of Blue' note for note, retitle it "Sort of Blue", make no reference to the original composer, turn around and sell it for a profit, and later claim that it was just part of my evolution as a musician.

Nothing to see here.

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I guess we can see the great thing about both working with chefs and the internet, is the building of a community amoungst chefs here in the states (finally) it's unfortunate, however, that some feel they can take advantage of others hard work and dilligence....

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Although I highly disagree with any blantant copying (and am in no way defending what is happening here), I feel throughout this whole discussion there has been one point missing.

How does the taste of the offending dishes compare to the originals? Can they stack up? We are talking about food after all, not photography.

(I can make my fried chicken look like the Colonel's but be damn sure it doesn't taste like it.) Yes, I am obsessed with the Colonel at the moment.

CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.com.au/newsletters/chef/sep07/

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www.juniper-restaurant.co.uk/recipes_text.asp

This may only be relevant to Australian egullet participants, but, you will find the dish located at this site, `perfect scrambled eggs with beetroot foam' by chef Paul Kitching, is also presented (almost exactly) by Robin Wickens in the November 2005 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

I cannot guarentee whom copyed who, but there is little evidence in favour of Chef Robin.

This is a very unfortunate set of circumstances and as much as I believe this is very wrong and unethical. I cannot condone any nastiness directed at Chef Robin. This forum should not be used as a platform to direct your wrath.

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Yes, I'm very interested to see how the likes of Gourmet Traveller, SMH, etc. approach this one. A bit prickly.

Maybe chef robin would like to particpate in an open forum with myself ,nic.kokonas and any other interested punters to disscus these similarities as I am sure there are a lot of interested people

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The tradition of welcoming stages into the kitchen is long held. The idea is that chefs can learn from one another, grow, and move the art forward. Chef Achatz has both benefited from this tradition, and now welcomes chefs from all over the world into Alinea's kitchen.

I would at this point like to formally ask Chef Robin if I can post the pictures of the following interlude dishes: daikon in five sections, Caviar, chocolate ganache, yoghurt, and squab.

Thank you.

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I actually dined at interlude last week and although we only had the 11 course menu we didn't have any of the above scandelous dishes mentioned above. I feel a little cheated not to be involved in the controversy

What we did have was very good though.

Incidently its interesting looking around at other top Australian restaurants;

Fenix in Melbourne has Liquid Nitrohen Poached green tea, lime and vodka meringue. Salmon wrapped in Liquorice. Oyters and passion fruit, all from the Fat Duck I believe.

Circa has a dessert of 'Circa Snickers Bar' similar to 'Per Se Snickers Bar'

Marque in Sydney has a signature dish of Choid-Froid Egg and a dessert of a tomato stuffed with twelve flavours both of which are famous at l'arperge, where the chef also did a stage.

Maybe people shouldn't be pointing the finger directly at Chef Robin as this apperars to be more wide spread.

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Maybe people shouldn't be pointing the finger directly at Chef Robin as this apperars to be more wide spread.

That's one aproach.

As an alternative opinion, perhaps more fingers should get pointed.

Need the edge? Find it yourself.

$0.05

Edited by The Chefs Office (log)

CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.com.au/newsletters/chef/sep07/

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I really don't see what the fuss is about. Interlude has dishes that resemble dishes served at other restaurants - that's what it boils down to, doesn't it?

As a diner, I couldn't care less where Chef Robin (or any other chef) gets their inspiration from. Hell, if a restaurant in Melbourne could do a note for note replica of the degustation from the French Laundry or El Bulli, I'd be there. Anthony Bourdain in his intro to "Nose To Tail Eating" writes of a restaurant in New York that copied Fergus Henderson's version of the bone marrow and parsley salad. If a chef copies the work of another chef, whether or not its intentional, it can only be good for diners.

The concept that one chef can own a dish is similary puzzling. This issue has only come to light due to the power of the internet. As deco75 has pointed out, many other restaurants copy other dishes, but no-one seems to mind because they don't put pictures of it on the internet. In years gone by, I would have thought that chefs would have been borrowing the best recipies for their own use. I remember reading Marco Pierre White's "White Heat", and he has Pierre Koffman's recipe for braised pigs trotters. Do any of you think that he would have mentioned the source of this dish on his menu? I doubt it. The dish only really exists from the moment it's plated til the time its consumed, that would be around 5 to 10 minutes. I can't see how any chef could own that.

Even if we did accept the idea of ownership of a dish, is it good for food as a whole? I can't see how it could be. Take Thomas Keller's dish of the salmon cones and that only he had ownership of the dish, what happens if he decides never to cook it again?. All of us lose out. Hell, we could take it to the logical conclusion and have every new dish owned by someone, and if you want to cook it, you must pay a royalty - enjoy the paperwork kids.

Onto Chef Robin and Interlude. I suppose we could all bring some petrol and burn him at the stake. Force him out of the high end of the business and make him start another bloody gastropub. But people, he's only in his 30s. He is still learning his craft. And he's doing it, whilst owning his restaurant, and doing tricky dishes as part of a 26 course degustation which he aims to turnover every 6 weeks. It's potentially over 200 dishes in one year - I'm damned if I can think up any other chef who would try and do that. Of course he's going to look for new ideas and try to adapt them to his menu. He can take one dish, learn about it, understand it, and then move on. In a few years time, he'll probably come back to the dish and add his own twist to it. I reckon that if given the chance to develop his craft, he can become a extraordinarily fine chef in ten years time.

Also, we're talking about no more than half a dozen dishes in a full degustation of 26. It's a few notes out of a symphony. Those dishes do a job beyond statisfying the enjoyment of the diner. They link the previous dish to the next. It can provide a contrast and connection between courses.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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I actually dined at interlude last week and although we only had the 11 course menu we didn't have any of the above scandelous dishes mentioned above. I feel a little cheated not to be involved in the controversy

What we did have was very good though.

Incidently its interesting looking around at other top Australian restaurants;

Fenix in Melbourne has Liquid Nitrohen Poached green tea, lime and vodka meringue. Salmon wrapped in Liquorice. Oyters and passion fruit, all from the Fat Duck I believe.

Circa has a dessert of 'Circa Snickers Bar' similar to 'Per Se Snickers Bar'

Marque in Sydney has a signature dish of Choid-Froid Egg and a dessert of a tomato stuffed with twelve flavours both of which are famous at l'arperge, where the chef also did a stage.

Maybe people shouldn't be pointing the finger directly at Chef Robin as this apperars to be more wide spread.

Or maybe the are being pointed at the worst offender he has a lot of explaining to do Edited by aussiechef76 (log)
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I don't believe the issue is that he copied the dishes or that he is unoriginal. The real issue is one of a lack of attribution. The apparent dishonesty is in claiming the creation of the dish for oneself. It seems that Chef Robin is indeed a fine technician and can run a fine kitchen. I very much doubt that we would be reading about this right now if he gave proper credit.

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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I really don't see what the fuss is about.  Interlude has dishes that resemble dishes served at other restaurants - that's what it boils down to, doesn't it?

As a diner, I couldn't care less where Chef Robin (or any other chef) gets their inspiration from.  Hell, if a restaurant in Melbourne could do a note for note replica of the degustation from the French Laundry or El Bulli, I'd be there.  Anthony Bourdain in his intro to "Nose To Tail Eating" writes of a restaurant in New York that copied Fergus Henderson's version of the bone marrow and parsley salad.  If a chef copies the work of another chef, whether or not its intentional, it can only be good for diners.

The concept that one chef can own a dish is similary puzzling.  This issue has only come to light due to the power of the internet.  As deco75 has pointed out, many other restaurants copy other dishes, but no-one seems to mind because they don't put pictures of it on the internet.  In years gone by, I would have thought that chefs would have been borrowing the best recipies for their own use.  I remember reading Marco Pierre White's "White Heat", and he has Pierre Koffman's recipe for braised pigs trotters.  Do any of you think that he would have mentioned the source of this dish on his menu?  I doubt it.  The dish only really exists from the moment it's plated til the time its consumed, that would be around 5 to 10 minutes.  I can't see how any chef could own that.

Even if we did accept the idea of ownership of a dish, is it good for food as a whole?    I can't see how it could be.  Take Thomas Keller's dish of the salmon cones and that only he had ownership of the dish, what happens if he decides never to cook it again?.  All of us lose out.  Hell, we could take it to the logical conclusion and have every new dish owned by someone, and if you want to cook it, you must pay a royalty - enjoy the paperwork kids.

Onto Chef Robin and Interlude.  I suppose we could all bring some petrol and burn him at the stake.  Force him out of the high end of the business and make him start another bloody gastropub.  But people, he's only in his 30s.  He is still learning his craft.  And he's doing it, whilst owning his restaurant, and doing tricky dishes as part of a 26 course degustation which he aims to turnover every 6 weeks.  It's potentially over 200 dishes in one year - I'm damned if I can think up any other chef who would try and do that.  Of course he's going to look for new ideas and try to adapt them to his menu.  He can take one dish, learn about it, understand it, and then move on.  In a few years time, he'll probably come back to the dish and add his own twist to it.  I reckon that if given the chance to develop his craft, he can become a extraordinarily fine chef in ten years time.

Also, we're talking about no more than half a dozen dishes in a full degustation of 26.  It's a few notes out of a symphony.  Those dishes do a job beyond statisfying the enjoyment of the diner.  They link the previous dish to the next.  It can provide a contrast and connection between courses.

With all due respect, I am on a completely different planet to you on this one I'm afraid.

CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.com.au/newsletters/chef/sep07/

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I think, there is a difference between "good" restaurants and "great" restaurants. A good restaurant's aim is to serve great, tasty food, whether traditional or experimental and to do it well. Cheap ethnic joints, traditional french bistros, great pizza, burger or barbeque places. These could all be justified as being called good restaurants. But great restaurants are another breed. Great restaurants are about one chef pioneering his own approach to food and pushing culinary boundaries. French Laundry, Alinea, Tetsuyas etc can all be safely classified as some of the great restaurants in the world because of their approach to the creative process.

Now, nobody would have a beef with chef robin if he was merely the chef of a good restaurant, copying established dishes like the fettucini alfredo inventolux mentioned above. But Chef Robin is clearly placing himself within the realm of the great restaurants and, IMHO, this is a fundamental breach of expectations for his diners. Even if he could produce, course for course, an el Bulli meal, I think it would be fundamentally dishonest to do so and not have the diners be made aware than all of the dishes are copies. Because people who dine at great restaurants not only expect great food, but also original and personal food.

Sure, ideas should be disseminated and chefs should be aware of each others work. I dont think anyone is denying this. But if a chef wants to study and incorporate such influences, it should be done in the back room, not on the menu. Perhaps it is hard to constantly come out with new dishes every 6 weeks. But I, as a diner, would far prefer a slower changing menu full of completely original dishes rather a fast one with elements taken verbatim from other chefs.

PS: I am a guy.

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