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At what point does something become "your creation?"

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by kwilkinson, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    This has been on my mind a lot, and was prompted during dinner prep for a Monday Night Football party. My friend swears by this wing sauce, that he calls his own. He told me the recipe for it, and it's bleu cheese dressing, frank's red hot, barbecue sauce, butter, and a tiny bit of grape jelly. The sauce is delicious, I mean, it sounds gross, but it tastes great for the white trash bar food that it is. But it got me thinking, is this really "his" sauce if everything in it is premade? The GM of our country club swears by his "family recipe barbecue sauce." I watched him make it once, and basically he takes sweet baby ray's, adds brown sugar and white vinegar, and lets it simmer for 15 minutes. Neither of those, to me, constitute something someone can call their own.

    But where do we draw the line? Obviously I think some things you can't be counted upon to make from scratch. For example, if someone makes a sauce using greek yogurt or sour cream, I would consider that fair game. I could maybe even see some prepared products like ketchup and whathaveyou. But where is the line drawn?

    Anyway, don't take this too seriously. Just the buzzed stream of consciousness ramblings of a random dude. Although I would like to hear what you guys think.
     
  2. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

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    I think that's his own. Just because he uses premade components doesn't mean squat. Edison didn't weave the light bulb filament Al Gore didn't put together the cables for the interwebz. Harry Cobb didn't make the cheese for the Cobb Salad.
     
  3. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    it's his recipe if that's what you mean. i think you're conflating making up or receiving a recipe and making things from scratch.
     
  4. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    i take the opposite point of view. i would argue that it's only "yours" if no one else has done it before. And i'd further argue that if in 3,000 years of cooking, no one has done it before ... there's probably a good reason.
    it's one thing to be proud of something you make, it's another to get all proprietary about it.
     
  5. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    but to what degree is changing a previous recipe making your own recipe? if you use brebis instead of gruyere or emmental in a mornay is that a brand new sauce? and how would you know someone didn't already come up with a recipe that you thought you came up with?
     
  6. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    maybe the better question would be "why does it matter?"
    If it was good ... if the people you served it to liked it ... does it matter that it has historical antecedents?
    in my business, it's a slightly different matter, because there are people who get really very perturbed about it. so if i develop a recipe in which the change is at the level you're talking about, i'll attribute it: "this is based on a recipe from XXX". If I decide that, for example, the flavor combination of brebis and potato is a nice one and develop my own way of pairing them, i might say something more like "this is loosely based on an idea from XXXXX."
    but for the normal person, who cares?
     
  7. mgm9128

    mgm9128 Senior member

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    I appreciate what Marco Pierre White did at Harveys back in the '80s. There were dishes he had on his menu that he himself thought were great and worth serving to his guests. For example, a plate of pig's trotters stuffed with sweetbreads. But it was not his own recipe. In this case the trotters were a recipe from Pierre Koffmann. So, on his menu, he wrote "Pig's Trotters, Pierre Koffmann".

    I see no harm in attempting to replicate something you think is a great dish, as long as it is replicated properly and credit is given to its original creator.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  8. b1os

    b1os Senior member

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    Well, if you completely came up with it by yourself, it's okay. If you didn't know the similar recipe that already exits it still is your "own" creation. I wouldn't go as far as to patent it, but in small circles, maybe with your friends, you can proudly say that you yourself came up with ithe idea. If you however saw a recipe in a magazine (or whatever) and just change cucumber with courgettes or red pepper with green one and then call it your own it's really low-level-bragging.
    How it works in the real high end business, I don't know. I think you gotta go public (in a large way, maybe magazines and/or tv or just a lot of interested customers) pretty fast, else your (really) new creation will be immediately coppied by a dozen other restaurants around the world and it'll be hard to prove it was your idea. You can take it as a complement, but for a economical point of view I guess it's better if this particular dish is associated with you. (like Bras and his fondant edit: or Gargouillou)
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  9. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    i guess also part of it is whether or not you're famous for the dish. like alain passard's famous egg. it might have been created by an older guy like bocuse, but passard made it famous and so if you see an egg shell filled with whipped creamed egg you would think that's the passard egg
     

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