This via Salon’s “The man who made Gordon Ramsay cry” — and let’s face it, making Gordon Ramsay cry is a great place to start.
Alex Koppelman asks:
…. Do you think a chef’s recipes should be protected as intellectual property?
You can’t reinvent the wheel. Everyone takes from everybody. How many people are serving foie gras on their menu? How many? How many people do a soupe de poisson? Go to France — a pigeon en croute de sel, a loup de mer en croute de sel. We live in a world of refinement, not invention. It’s the greatest compliment he can be given, this guy. If someone takes one of your dishes and does it, it’s flattery. For you to get pissed off because he didn’t acknowledge you is ego. It’s all too political really, isn’t it? I mean, we’re fucking chefs.
I think he brings up an interesting issue — refinement versus invention. Of course, though, the brouhaha he refers to treads close to invention. Ferràn Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, and Wylie Dufresne come very close to inventing with food. On the other hand, what they’re doing is so creative that they don’t need lots of protection, and don’t seek it. If you make foam, we know who you’re stealing from. Ditto for putting a laser on a vanilla bean or a cyber-egg. And if one doesn’t want people to steal one’s recipes, one doesn’t publish a cookbook, after all.
White touches on a favorite aphorism of mine that I’m sure someone else independently invented: plagiarism is the most sincere form of imitation.
Photo deep-linked from Salon, by Drew Gardner/eyevine/Zuma Press