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tb86

Interlude food similarities

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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.

Well that is exactly the point. There is in fact another chef who is trying to do that... a few in fact. It is exceptionally difficult to do. That is why there are folks on here pointing out to you who those chefs are...

And as for it being a few notes... to wit:

The "tour" on the Interlude website either current or over the past 2 weeks (just changed tonight, no pictures on there now -- different menu... hmmm)

"Very Similar" to Alinea -- 12 dishes

Freeze Dried Pina Colada -- On eGullet Here Oct 18 2004

Chocolate Ganache Helix

Tobacco with Blackberry

Skate with "traditional" flavors

Cucumber with aromatics

HOP in Five Sections (Daikon substituted, but same exact fillings)

Caviar with Oyster Cream in Chervil

Squab with Foie, Licorice, and Grilled Watermelon (what are the odds of that!)

Liquid Center Chocolate with Rice and Peanut (same plating too)

Squab with smoking cinnamon (same exact candle service piece)

Eucalyptus Yogurt with Apricot and Thyme (in an an exact same tube)

Dry Aged Beef, Braised Pistachios, hot spiced Jelly (ours was also bison -- same unique treatment of the potatoes)

Also similar are the phrasings: "too many garnishes to list", "tour", and "mostly traditional flavors".

I note 2 dishes that I personally have seen at WD-50 (they can comment better than I), at least 2 from Moto (ditto -- donut soup being one), and one from MiniBar (deconstructed glass of wine). Total of 17 dishes, without really thinking too hard.

If it were one dish -- well that's an honor. I have seen Alain Passard's Egg and Keller's Cornets at many restaurants... often in homage to the chef's who created them.

I am not a chef... and perhaps different rules apply here. But in any other profession or business -- from writing to computing to academia -- this would raise a flag...


Edited by nick.kokonas (log)

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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.

But a menu full of identical cloned dishes is wrong we have no problem with taking influnce or technique but ripping the whole thing off and calling it you own is rude maybe he is in a different realm of great restaurants but through his actions it shows he doesnt the pass to play there as for him only being 30 the chefs who work he is plagerising are of the same age or younger and the manage to put out their own original food and if he can't come up with new food every 6 weeks without plagerising why try for a 6 week change

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if he was so sure what he was doing was right evolved and creative why did all the photo links get removed the day after this blog started

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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.

Well that is exactly the point. There is in fact another chef who is trying to do that... a few in fact. It is exceptionally difficult to do. That is why there are folks on here pointing out to you who those chefs are...

And as for it being a few notes... to wit:

The "tour" on the Interlude website either current or over the past 2 weeks (just changed tonight, no pictures on there now -- different menu... hmmm)

"Very Similar" to Alinea -- 12 dishes

Freeze Dried Pina Colada -- On eGullet Here Oct 18 2004

Chocolate Ganache Helix

Tobacco with Blackberry

Skate with "traditional" flavors

Cucumber with aromatics

HOP in Five Sections (Daikon substituted, but same exact fillings)

Caviar with Oyster Cream in Chervil

Squab with Foie, Licorice, and Grilled Watermelon (what are the odds of that!)

Liquid Center Chocolate with Rice and Peanut (same plating too)

Squab with smoking cinnamon (same exact candle service piece)

Eucalyptus Yogurt with Apricot and Thyme (in an an exact same tube)

Dry Aged Beef, Braised Pistachios, hot spiced Jelly (ours was also bison -- same unique treatment of the potatoes)

Also similar are the phrasings: "too many garnishes to list", "tour", and "mostly traditional flavors".

I note 2 dishes that I personally have seen at WD-50 (they can comment better than I), at least 2 from Moto (ditto -- donut soup being one), and one from MiniBar (deconstructed glass of wine). Total of 17 dishes, without really thinking too hard.

If it were one dish -- well that's an honor. I have seen Alain Passard's Egg and Keller's Cornets at many restaurants... often in homage to the chef's who created them.

I am not a chef... and perhaps different rules apply here. But in any other profession or business -- from writing to computing to academia -- this would raise a flag...

from the wd-50 end shrimp noodle (wylie has the patent on that one)Identical dish right down to plating

caramalized apple miso icecream preserved plum(Sam Mason wd-50 pastry chef exact same dish componets and plating )

Grapefruit on grapefruit (wd-50 sam mason his signature sorbet course on the tasting

what are the chances

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That's 17 dishes we know of from well known restaurants. My question is: if this guy is willing to copy immediately recognizable dishes from world-famous restaurants with no apparent compunction, then how many dishes did he take from restaurants we've never heard of? I think we might be looking at more than "a few notes in a symphony".

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Daniel, I guess we can ask ourselves how old Alain Passard was when he achieved two stars, or when the Brothers Pourcel attained their treble? I think Passard was 26 and the Pourcels in their very early thirties. I am not suggesting that Chef Robin should be compared to people of that ilk, but age has never stopped anyone having an original thought.

PS Kiyomi Mikuni in Japan is apparently famous for having a kaiseki menu with dishes which change everyday. That is a fair crack more than 200 dishes a year!

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when bechamel was invented, everyone said, hey, great idea, lets expand on that and use it. when the troisgros bros (?) started the movement away from huge pieces montee to smaller dishes, and started using reductions and vinaigrettes instead of the old heavy cream and roux-thickened sauces, everyone said, wow, thats a great idea, let's do it. now i can walk into a restaurant and order salmon, and at most restaurants i'll get a piece of salmon, seared, on top of some veg and starch, with a ring or pool of sauce. there is nothing new to this. there are individual touches a chef can add to make it his own, but in gross form it HAS BEEN DONE.

I understand the concept of borrowing techniques from other chefs; in the privacy of my own home i have attempted to recreate some dishes i have had and even cooked in professional kitchens--so that i may understand them completely. there is nothing wrong with using sodium alginate to make little fruit caviars, even though lots of people have done it. foams, gels, etc. are all techniques that benefit from frequent reinvention. even the use of transglutaminase, gums, liquid nitrogen, sous-vide, etc. is becoming more widespread, and people are using those techniques in new ways every day. this is a good thing; something one chef tries may be copied, and then expanded upon, by another, and this will drive the industry further along whatever road it travels.

i haven't eaten at alinea, wd-50, interlude, and el bulli, but i work in the industry, read, and talk to other cooks and chefs on a daily basis. i consider myself pretty well up-to-date as far as the current state of "the movement," whatever it calls itself, and i can call a spade a spade--as has been pointed out pretty conclusively here, interlude has more than borrowed from other restaurants of this ilk. that part is rather embarrassing, but it seems that chef robin has reenacted these dishes well; all that remains is for him to expand upon these concepts, which i hope he will do. donut soup? been done. tasty, but i will never put donut soup on my (future) menu. donut foam? ok. take the soup and gel it back into the shape of a donut? ok. that's the hard part here, to take an innovation and innovate further...

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the theoretical discussion is interesting, and the points are for the most part correct.

but in this case a picture is worth the proverbial words... hopefully Interlude will allow us to post them.

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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.

From memory, MPW did credit Koffman on his menu. That dish is synonymous with Koffman and I have regularly seen it on menus as Pigs Trotter a la Pierre Koffman. I agree that a lot of recipes get passed down and copied without a nod to their creator but to have virtually a whole menu without crediting anybody is, in my mind, treating its diners like idiots.

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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.

but 17 out of 26 is a bad batting average in any country and what about the dish on the cover of gourmet magazine another evolution ?
Edited by aussiechef76 (log)

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Surely the difference between generic and/or classic dishes (say Troisgros's Salmon with Sorrel), which perhaps should be credited, but no one would take as a sign of innovation on the chef's part, and duplicates of recently created, very specific dishes - heart of palm (or daikon) 5 ways - is pretty clear. Not to mention when the chef in question appears to have staged at the restaurant where the dish was created, and is describing his own cuisine as 'innovative'.

The comparison with 'everyone using Escoffier's methods' - or making Bechamel - seems a bit of a red herring to me. Maybe in fifty years time home chefs everywhere will be finding five different garnishes to stuff segments of hollowed radishes with, but that seems a totally different thing to knowing how to thicken a sauce to me....

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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.

but 17 out of 26 is a bad batting average in any country and what about the dish on the cover of gourmet magazine another evolution ? maybe comp dinners are clouding your vison.......

I look at this from a legal perspective. There is no legal protection for copyright infringement of recipes. The US Patent and Trademark Office does NOT recognize recipes as intellectual property. Show me a chef that has filed on them and that would be a first. What they do recognize are inventions or devices that have the ability to produce an unusual recipe or food product.

The very second someone discloses an idea, technique, invention to another party without filing the measly 80 dollar patent, they have sacrificed their foreign rights to that IP. So anyone outside their country can use it at free will for whatever they want. Public domain or not thats just the way it is.

It doesnt matter if it goes into print, on television or into outer space. There is no legal protection whatsoever. The only legal protection I see on this thread is we have no right to copy Interludes pics and post them on this website. So those that have decided to remove those pics have done the correct thing.

Im not saying I agree with the copying of Wd's, Alinea's or my dishes. Im just saying education rather than just getting upset about this is key. When chefs find themselves researching and developing at a more efficient and creative pace than the giant food corps, its time to start thinking the way they do. File and licence.

Another point, following in the "great tradition" of staging doesnt make any sense to me either. If the philosophy of pushing the envelope is to be creative, then CREATE! Sure I staged in plenty of restaurants and learned plenty along the way. My philosophy soon became to be as diverse from those restaurants as humanly possible. Very few people are as nuts as I am to make that their career goal. So, we have eliminated the stage process. It has become a haven for copying. So to me their is no great tradition.

Let me throw a hypothetical situation out there....

What if a major food corp's scientist were to pose as a stage? 3 years later you see one of your ideas on the shelves of stores worldwide. Whats worse? Another restaurant using the idea or the food corp taking it and running. It has happened and is currently happening to plenty restaurants that have not filed on any of their ideas. The problem will only get worse until restaurants stop fighting over the measly scraps that are left for us. The key is protection and proper prior art research.

The unfortunate part here is pride. Many chefs are proud of what they do so they want people to see it. Thats understandable. In todays world of here today and gone tomorrow its a race to the finish. So many of us want these new ideas in print or on TV. Well, thats immediate gratification, but it just makes the whole problem worse. We will continue to work in an industry that suffers from low wages, low success rate (8 out of 10 restaurants fail in the first year) and the creativity that has existed for so many years in restaurants will continually wind up in the hands of others that better understand the legal protection process. The great news is we are just beginning to realize our creative drive isnt something that can be learned in a classroom. Its something that has existed in this great business for many years. Now its time to reclaim what is ours and to stop being so damn competitive with each other.

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Speaking of the Tony Bourdain reference, the chef is Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune who has very publicly acknowledged that her version of Fergus Henderson's bone marrow was, well, his.

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Now its time to reclaim what is ours

I think you should take it a step further.

Eliminate human employees all-together and replace them with robots.

Have the robots sign non-disclosure agreements.

Lock the doors, install retina scanners and have everything come out a

little square hole in the wall on a conveyor belt.

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Now its time to reclaim what is ours

I think you should take it a step further.

Eliminate human employees all-together and replace them with robots.

Have the robots sign non-disclosure agreements.

Lock the doors, install retina scanners and have everything come out a

little square hole in the wall on a conveyor belt.

Funny you should mention that, everyone that steps into the Moto kitchen has to sign a 4 page NDA that protects all patents pending. Robots are interesting but they cant season food and they cant tell me when one of my ideas suck.

Also, everyone who obtains a position at Moto is eligible for an employee stock option from Cantu Designs. (Highly unusual for a small company) Thats a tradition worth protecting. I do it not only for ethical reasons, but also so my employees dont have to live in poverty. They should be rewarded for their creative abilities. As they should be trained to not only run a restaurant but take care of their future employees.


Edited by inventolux (log)

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while I agree with Chef Cantu's sentiment that everyone should just get along, it is easy to do with him... he has eaten at Alinea, visited the kitchen... no big deal. Next time I went to Moto, I didn't see Achatz' food on the table, I saw Cantu's. Same with every other chef.

I agree there is no IP case here... in my mind there is something greater... intellectual integrity.

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Robots are interesting but they cant season food and they cant tell me when one of my ideas suck.

Nah... who needs to season food with something like "taste" when you could simply make a dish and then scan it's makeup at the molecular level and then reproduce it exactly from a store of "blank matter" (sorta like culinary stem cells) - that way there is only 1 person involved in the process.

You could hire Google to write an algorithm to calculate the statistical probability of whether an idea will suck or not based on access to the genomes of all known edible substances, every food review ever written and all the written philosophies on human nature.

You just enter in the combination of ingredients in the box and click submit and get back a big SUCK

or DOESN'T SUCK and an explaination why.

Hmm... on second thought - maybe that is taking things too far?

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Who's getting pissed here?

Judd, I agree on the need for debate and exploration and understanding and celebration. All the eG things we appreciate, and the reasons for us being here. And that's one of the key points, why are some people here?

And as for the bigger picture, I think that's significant too, and more so if it were to encompass the circle in which we dwell, this community of food obsessives and cooks and the like.

A concentrated effort on one restaurant can sometimes look like a vendetta of some kind.

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In terms of ethics, the person under the spotlight is a public figure. Many of his detractors here are not, or have not been identified as such. Any chance of publicly disclosing the identities of those coming forth? Even playing field then... maybe :wink:

edit to add: I meant public figure to mean "identifiable"... :huh:


Edited by PCL (log)

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Who's getting pissed here?

Judd, I agree on the need for debate and exploration and understanding and celebration. All the eG things we appreciate, and the reasons for us being here. And that's one of the key points, why are some people here?

To partake in discussion around what my whole life has been spent doing. I suspect this is the case for many other food industry professionals on these boards. This business is my life. I have found a way to mix my passion (food, cooking and kitchen life) with my (now) profession (recruiting chefs).

A concentrated effort on one restaurant can sometimes look like a vendetta of some kind.

I'm not aware of any concentrated effort between users on this board to bring down Interlude or anyone else. I'm not aware of any collusion in the slightest. If it's happening then I'm not involved.

I don't think this is happening.

I do think this post is an issue that many professionals are passionate about.

I've also never met any staff from Interlude, eaten there, been there etc.

I'm sure they are a great bunch of guys, have a great restaurant and they can obviously cook.

I have even heard excellent reviews from many friends that have been there. I wish them every success in the world, I hope they run great labour and food costs, serve excellent food and gain three hats.

My problem is with straight copying of menu items without credit where credit is due. I have this issue with any restaurant, not one specifically.

However, this thread is titled "Interlude food similarities".

I can guarantee you if there was a thread called "Food similarities between restaurants around the world", you will see continuity from me.

EDIT: My name is Judd Howie, click links in my signature and you can find out much more about me (if you are interested that is). ;+)


Edited by The Chefs Office (log)

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Thanks Judd... one ID up.

Dude, I mean, Judd, I was in Sydney last couple days, no adventures however, but there will be a Sydney day coming up in April hopefully!!

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why did interlude take down the links to the photos if it was all evolved dishes

Careful aussiechef76. Your schadenfreude is starting to show.

Shouldn't you be in service?

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