While reading some of my favorite food sections across the nation I stumbled upon a very interesting article concerning the custody of recipes developed by a departed chef. The viewpoint and perspectives to approach this discussion are very broad. Being a chef, and one who has both blatantly copied recipes from other restaurants, as well as a chef who has created a lot of unique formulas, I have to take a stand.
A chef has his own personal repertoire, signature dishes, or approach to food. I think that each chef within himself (or herself) should have the pride and consideration to allow a departing chef to leave with his personal repertoire intact. I mean, who among us is happy just coasting along copying others' recipes???? Oh, well, when I think of it there are a lot of chefs just like this. I'll not dwell on this somewhat negative fact. The interesting point comes when a chef considers his recipes as intellectual properties where things like licensing and copyrights are considered. A recipe is only as good as the chef who wrote it. Likewise, a dish made from a recipe is not a direct reflection of the recipe, rather the chef who prepared it. If being a chef was nothing more than following a recipe, a lot more people would be successful at it.
I've left my recipes at many of my previous posts. I consider it an honor, recognition, even an ego inflating argument that they have yet to improve beyond what I accomplished while working for them. I've seen my recipes, and dishes I've created come off menus for a time and then reappear. It makes me feel good that what I did then is worth repeating now. I think that the recipe is not something that is possessed, but rather it's a tool that other cooks and chefs can look at, and use. Hopefully they are inspired to manipulate my basic guidelines into something unique.