Discussion: Should a chef be allowed to copyright his/her recipes?

I came across this article years ago in my Food & Wine Magazine and thought it was extremely thought-provoking

I want to get a discussion rolling:


Thoughts? Reactions?


2 thoughts on “Discussion: Should a chef be allowed to copyright his/her recipes?

  1. A chef can copyright anything he or she chooses. So can any citizen of this planet, with or without justification. Grandma can copyright her recipe for chicken soup – but it doesn’t mean she will able to defend her ownership of that recipe in a court of law, which, after all, is what a copyright is all about.

    For a copyright to apply to a work it must describe an original idea that is put to functional use. The idea alone cannot be protected by copyright; it is the physical implementation of that idea, such as an illustration or a written novel, that is covered under copyright law.

    Therefore Grandma can copyright her chicken soup recipe but she must be ready to prove to a court how it is original and useful apart from ALL other recipes for chicken soup. Hmmm….tough one Granny.

    Food is a collective thing – it depends upon generations of trail and error, failures and successes, spitting and swallowing for a recipe to be proven and successful. It is difficult to imagine a food product or process so innovative that not one human has ever produced it in the past. If it exists, I’d like to taste it.

  2. Uh, yeah. PK, are you available Mid May for an appeal against the city for parking? Will trade food for services 😉

    But on a more basic approach, Hell No. Distinguishing amongst the details aside, Hell No. I made a sauce based on something Careme was making in Paris over 100 years ago. But I change one thing, and I can “own it?” No thanks.

    I know, that’s super simplified.

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