Author Topic: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?  (Read 2946 times)

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Venus193

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"Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« on: July 20, 2012, 07:09:44 AM »
So as not to hijack the Chicken Paprikas thread:

Quote
A very good friend of mine is a very good friend of a well-known chef.  The chef confided in my friend that when he demonstrates a recipe, he NEVER does it precisely as he really does.  He will leave something out, or chop stuff the wrong size.  Something so that it won't be as good as when he makes it.  Apparently this is common.  Then if anyone says anything he says that is why he is the chef.  He has the knowledge and experience.

If this is commonplace, I also think it's "common" in another sense.

If someone appreciates a food enough to request the recipe isn't it rude to alter the recipe so they don't get the same results?  In this day when food prices are high and most of us were raised not to waste food isn't it mean-spirited to give someone a deliberately revised recipe?

If you don't want someone else duplicating your personal creation isn't it better to simply decline to give out the recipe instead?

NyaChan

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 07:25:54 AM »
I think it depends on the circumstances.  I absolutely expect chefs to not give out the exact method of preparing the dishes they depend on selling to make their living.  When restaurants publish cookbooks, I assume they've changed things so that they still make the "best" version of the dish.  But this is specific to the chef acting in a professional capacity, though even if a friend asked him, I don't think I would fault him for not giving the recipe - but the polite thing to do would be to say, "Friend, I can't give you the recipe because it is what I serve in my restaurant/catering business/etc.  If you like, I can teach you to make something similar," rather than giving the recipe and changing it so that the person is left to think that it is their own fault it isn't turning out as it should.  Between friends, I think that is rude to just change something rather than decline to give the recipe, and was quite upset when someone actually accused me of doing it. 

mechtilde

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 07:54:44 AM »
I think it is legitimate to change a recipe so that it is easier for people who are not trained chefs to make. Deliberately altering it so it can't be duplicated seems wrong.
NE England

Outdoor Girl

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 08:54:55 AM »
If you don't want someone else duplicating your personal creation isn't it better to simply decline to give out the recipe instead?

I agree.

I think it is legitimate to change a recipe so that it is easier for people who are not trained chefs to make. Deliberately altering it so it can't be duplicated seems wrong.

And I also agree with this.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Acadianna

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 11:50:56 AM »
I think it is legitimate to change a recipe so that it is easier for people who are not trained chefs to make. Deliberately altering it so it can't be duplicated seems wrong.
POD.

My mother once tried to get one of the owners of Antoine's in New Orleans to give her the recipe for Oysters Rockefeller, which that restaurant originated.  (He was a close friend of my parents.)  He declined, because the real recipe was -- and remains, as far as I know -- a secret, although there are lots of copycat recipes out there.  I'm sure my mother was disappointed, but that's a lot better than the hurt feelings she'd have had if he'd given her a not-quite-authentic recipe -- which I feel sure she'd have spotted.  I think he chose the polite course in simply refusing to give the recipe, rather than altering it.

lowspark

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 02:27:44 PM »
I agree with PPs. If you don't want to give the recipe, don't. But don't say you're giving it and then pull a switch. That's rude.

As far as a chef who makes a living from his/her recipes, I'd say they have a perfectly legitimate reason not to share recipes or techniques. But then s/heshouldn't go around demonstrating something and representing it as the same thing as what he is serving in his restaurant. Honestly, if the only thing that is keeping the average demo audience member from being able to whip up identical dishes to a chef's is seeing the exact recipe & technique in a public demonstration, the chef has a lot more to worry about than that. To me, the chef in the OP's quote sounds pretty insecure.

The chef could easily say something like, Here's a recipe you can make at home, or Here's a recipe that uses some great fresh ingredients or whatever. But not Here's a recipe I make in my restaurant.

This thread reminds me of the DickVan Dyke episode when Laura left out the mustard in the recipe she gave Millie for Peanut Butter Avocado Dip.

Sophia

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2012, 04:35:40 PM »
Original original poster here.

It always bothered me, which is why I remembered it.  The thing is, he always has seemed like such a nice guy.  Although, I can kind of see his point, if someone takes the same quality ingredients and prepares them exactly the same way, they will get the same result. 

My folks used to used to adore these famous Hot Dagos served for lunch at this bar in the MSP area.  After we moved away, mom said she wished we could make those.  Dad poo-poo'ed the idea.  Mom wrote anyway (pre-email).  She got a letter back saying they never gave out their recipes, but they are retiring so they sent it.  THAT recipe I am certain is authentic.  Not just because of the background, but because the first ingredient was "5 pounds pork butt".  If you were going to change something, I would think that would have been it.  Mom and Dad also said they tasted just like they remembered, and people used to line up around the block to get these.

sweetonsno

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2012, 03:00:03 PM »
I have sort of mixed feelings about this. On one hand, food is this person's livelihood. If someone knows exactly how to make his dishes at home, they are less likely to go to the restaurant to buy them. I an see why someone might not want to show others how to make their signature dishes if those dishes are their "bread and butter" (yuk yuk).

On the other hand, i don't advocate lying to or insulting others. Deliberately giving out bad information and then blaming the person for a recipe's failure isn't okay, especially if it would wind up inedible. I don't think it would be rude for a person to show a friend how to make a similar dish, or give them a basic recipe that would be easier to make at home. I also don't think it would be rude for them to show them the recipe but leave off their secret touches (for instance, the pinch of cayenne or the fact that they scald the milk before they add it) so long as the secret touches aren't going to make or break it. The little touches are usually extra personality that each individual chef would add on his or her own.

violinp

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2012, 03:08:20 PM »
If it's a restaurant, I understand if they don't give out the exact recipe. However, if it's just a regular person, that's rude and mean. On purpose making someone not do a dish right so you keep people eating your version is weird at best.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


Outdoor Girl

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2012, 03:20:21 PM »
If it's a restaurant, I understand if they don't give out the exact recipe.

I agree, but they should say that it isn't the exact recipe.  'We don't give out the exact recipe; we need to keep you coming to the restaurant!  But here's a similar dish you can make at home.'
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Arianoor

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 06:20:09 PM »
I don't understand lying.  I love to cook and I have quite a few "specialties", but I would never lie on purpose!  I'll admit that my written recipes haven't always been totally accurate, but that is because some things I cook by feel and translating that into exact measurements hasn't always yielded the best results.

Lynnv

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 09:42:51 PM »
I don't understand lying.  I love to cook and I have quite a few "specialties", but I would never lie on purpose!  I'll admit that my written recipes haven't always been totally accurate, but that is because some things I cook by feel and translating that into exact measurements hasn't always yielded the best results.

I agree.  There are a few recipes I just don't give out-but I just tell people that I don't give those out.  I would never lie about a recipe to make someone else look bad.  I will admit that some of my recipes consist of a long list of guesses and "until it looks/feels/tastes right" ingredients and cooking instructions, but that isn't lying about my recipe.  It is admitting that I only have a guess.   ;D
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Mikayla

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Re: "Altered" Recipes -- Rude?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2012, 08:15:14 PM »
I think there's a big difference between a professional chef "demonstrating" a recipe and altering something slightly vs a friend withholding info on a requested recipe.  It never bothers me when people decline to share something with me, and that's a lot more fair than me making something that doesn't resemble what she made.