There is a striking similarity of a food preparation and a knife making process. You have ingredients, maker's technique, cooking (heat treating) temperatures, cook (soak) time, food presentation (look of a knife), etc.
It took me 3 years to fine-tune the process (I got a lot of help form Devin and folks on this forum with ideas and feedback). People write to me and ask if they can apprentice or offer to pay for teaching them how to make knives. There are certain things I would show, but things that took me a long time to arrive at, but I could teach in one day, NO. I turn down most of the requests, partially because for a lack of time. If I see that the person is putting an effort, I would at least point him in a right direction, but I do think, trial and error tests your resolution, is an important component of learning a new skill or craft.
What amazes me is how the rules are different for different industries. If you're a scientist or engineer & invent something wonderful, the company you're working for will probably own it. And by the way, if you leave the company, you can't take the invention with you or develop anything like it elsewhere. What really slays me is the music industry. Record yourself singing some Beatles tunes and play it in your restaurant or sell it on iTunes, and you'll probably owe the estate of Michael Jackson some money--even if you're Paul McCartney. (I think MJ's estate is still part owner of the rights to the Beatles music.)
Yeah, for some reason recipes aren't considered Intellectual Property.
Originally Posted by Vertigo
If asked about a recipe I will make one up with what is around the kitchen, and not go with something not coming on the truck. If asked to open it up I will also ask how much $$ per dish, and if any changes then it's not mine.
Recipes are currency. I really feel that trading recipes is a healthy part of the professional kitchen. Going from one restaurant to another is great. I have taken recipes from people that I hold onto to this day. It's interesting to see how other people interpret food and technique. Also, I like the idea that someone will have my recipe and use it for a family meal or special. It's like leaving you mark on a restaurant.
I think that, since there is nothing new under the sun, withholding recipes or expecting credit for them is unrealistic.
I used to work in a tres authentique French bistro, and as sous, ran everything apart from pass. We had just started and couldn't afford super quality chocolate for out petit pots au chocolat, so I used to add a sprig of rosemary to the mix as it was cooking, to add a spicy complexity missing in our basic chocolate.
I thought I'd really done something, y'know, and then was flicking through Jane Grigson, English Food, and there's an 1894 recipe for chocolate and rosemary...
Everything I know has been formed by some incoming information; from old mentors, articles, books, shows... Yes, I never copy a dish, but in a sense every component of every dish I've 'created' was collected magpie style.