If You Invent A Hot New Recipe, Take That Shit To The Grave
When a chef creates a new recipe, it is their job to keep it from the prying eyes of the public and other chefs. That's because recipes are not protected by copyright, as they are "mere listings of ingredients" -- another reason U.S. Copyright Office workers aren't great at dinner parties. Unlike music, art, or literature, you can't create food. Only God and very powerful warlocks can do that.
With the advent of food blogs, what some call food plagiarism has become quite rampant. Moments after some chef becomes a foodie sensation by figuring out that peaches go great with Hungarian barbecue ribs, another food place will have paid "homage" to their signature dish, like they're the Quentin Tarantino of dead pigs. Sure, for the original cronut, you have to go to Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. But for one that tastes exactly the same, you only have to go to any other bakery that has croissant dough and a deep fat fryer.
This is why big food names like Coca-Cola and KFC go to ridiculous lengths to safeguard their specific recipes. The liquor industry once had a similar situation, with stoic bartenders guarding their cocktail recipes with their lives. However, their trade secrets have been all but wiped out due to "brand ambassadors" -- C-grade mixologists hired by big brands to push their booze by creating snazzy signature cocktails, but who usually wind up stealing or googling an existing drink and throwing some ginger in.
While most chefs don't mind food plagiarism (stolen hummus is the sincerest form of flattery), those who do have to get creative in their pursuit of justice. In the delicious-sounding Two Pesos, Inc. v. Taco Cabana, Inc. case, Taco Cabana successfully bankrupted its rivals not for stealing its menu, but for foolishly copying its restaurants' style as well. Meanwhile, food blogger / self-described "sugar hero" Elizabeth LaBau sued the Food Network for copying her snow globe cupcake...'s promotional how-to video. So you can get some legal rights for your food; you just have to point a camera at it while you're making it. We never realized "food porn" worked on so many levels.
Cedric Voets invented the listicle. It turned out it already existed, but he arrived at it independently. You can follow more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.
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